This week EDO Qld appeared at the public hearing into the Mineral Resources (Galilee Basin) Amendment Bill 2018.
On March 4 EDO Qld Principal Solicitor Sean Ryan and CEO Jo-Anne Bragg appeared before Queensland Parliament in support of the Bill, which would see coal mining activities - including Adani's Carmichael mine project - banned in the Galilee Basin.
Mr Ryan told the State Development, Natural Resources, and Agricultural Industry Development Committee the Bill was a crucial first step towards fulfilling our international obligations around climate change and saving the last 10% - 30% of the Great Barrier Reef from the effects of global warming.
The Bill has attracted significant interest, with the community sending more than 3600 emails to the committee in support of the measures via the EDO Qld website.
EDO Qld Principal Solicitor Sean Ryan's opening remarks to the committee
EDO Qld Principal Solicitor Sean Ryan responds to a question regarding market forces and the transition to renewable energy
EDO Qld Principal Solicitor Sean Ryan responds to a question regarding coal quality
On 31 October 2018, Mr Michael Berkman MP, Member for Maiwar, introduced the Mineral Resources (Galilee Basin) Amendment Bill 2018 into the Queensland Parliament.
The objective of the bill is to contribute to Australia’s commitments to pursue efforts to keep global warming below 1.5 degrees above pre-industrial levels by 2100 by preventing any coal mining in the Galilee Basin.
The Bill proposes amendments to the Mineral Resources Act 1989 to:
- prohibit the granting of new coal mining leases for land in the Galilee Basin;
- terminate existing coal mining leases for land in the Galilee Basin;
- amend existing coal mining leases which overlap with land in the Galilee Basin to exclude that land;
- confirm that no compensation is payable to the mining lease holders affected by the Bill; and
- require the mines minister to table a report in the Legislative Assembly summarising the actions taken under the provisions of the Bill.
EDO Qld supports the legislative intent of this Bill. If Queensland and Australia are to take our commitments to reduce greenhouse gas emissions seriously we must stop thermal coal mining.
Significant proposed exploitation of Australia’s Galilee Basin coal deposits in Central Queensland is incompatible with effective action on climate change and is incongruous with any government policy attempting to address and mitigate climate change impacts.
This includes the approval of the Adani Carmichael mine, which if built would be the largest thermal coal mine in the southern hemisphere; at a time when Australia has committed to taking action to reduce the risks of climate change.
The most glaring weakness in the current Queensland Government strategies to reduce our climate change risk is the elephant in the room - the failure to address fossil fuel extraction in Queensland and the resulting greenhouse gas emissions when the exported fuel is burnt.
The Queensland Government is effectively hastening dangerous climate change by actively promoting and approving new and expanded domestic and export fossil fuel initiatives and even exploration for more coal and gas reserves across our state.
Bill could go further to address all new thermal coal and gas proposals
The Climate Council of Australia concluded in this 2015 Report that over 90% of Australia’s remaining coal reserves must be left in the ground, unburned if we are to have any hope of meeting the Paris Commitment of 2 or 1.5 degrees Celsius.
The Climate Council also stated in this 2017 Report that ‘New gas power plants are less polluting than coal, however, when the entire supply chain of gas production is considered, gas is not significantly less polluting than coal. Current levels of reliance on gas power in Australia must be reduced to play our role in limiting global temperature below 2°C. Expanding gas usage is inconsistent with tackling climate change as it locks in emissions for decades into the future.’
EDO Qld recommends that the Bill could therefore be extended to prevent all new thermal coal and gas projects in Queensland to ensure we are doing all that we can to reduce the risks of dangerous climate change.
As the custodians of our Great Barrier Reef, which is under serious threat from predominantly climate change impacts, we have an even greater duty to do all that we can to ensure that global emissions are reduced and dangerous climate change is avoided.
See the Bill and supporting instruments here: