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News & Blog Posts · Energy & Climate

Media Release: Adani approval faces independent Federal Court scrutiny

03 May, 2016

On behalf of ACF, EDO Qld is seeking independent judicial review by the Federal Court of the legality of Environment Minister Greg Hunt’s re-approval of the project.

  • A detailed explanation of the case including key court documents is available here

EDO Qld is the legal representation for the Australian Conservation Foundation (ACF) in their objection to the federal re-approval of the proposed Adani Carmichael coal mine project in Queensland’s Galilee Basin.

On behalf of ACF, EDO Qld is seeking an independent judicial review by the Federal Court of the legality of Federal Environment Minister Greg Hunt’s re-approval of the project.

The hearing will take place on the 3rd and 4th of May 2016 in the Federal Court in Brisbane.

Jo-Anne Bragg, CEO of EDO Qld, said: "On behalf of ACF, we will be questioning the lawfulness of the Environment Minister’s environmental approval for Adani’s Carmichael project in relation to the impacts of the project on climate change and our Great Barrier Reef.

"We will argue the Environment Minister did not properly comply with his legal obligations when considering the impacts of the burning of coal from this mine on the Reef.

“Australia has a moral as well as an international legal obligation to do all it can to protect our Great Barrier Reef for future generations. The Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 (the EPBC Act) states the Minister must not act inconsistently with Australia’s responsibilities under the World Heritage Convention.

"This case is a matter of law. It is not trivial and it is important the Federal Minister gets his decision right under the law,” Ms Bragg said.

Recent research showing coral bleaching across a staggering 93 per cent of our Reef further highlights the need for Government to meet its responsibilities. Applying the law to protect the environment in the public interest is vital to holding government and projects to account and sustaining our environment for future generations.

This case will set a precedent for further climate change decision-making under the EPBC Act relating to burning of coal overseas, and duties to not act inconsistently with Australia’s responsibilities under the World Heritage Convention.

The Court has the power to overturn the Environment Minister’s approval if it deems the decision was not lawful.

We expect the Federal Court to give a decision within three to six months.


ACF first sought the independent judicial review in the Federal Court on 9 November 2015 after the Federal Environment Minister re-approved the environmental authority for Adani’s Carmichael project on 14 October 2015. This followed a Federal Court decision on 6 August 2015 to set aside the Minister’s first approval of the project (granted on 28 July 2014) after he failed to consider conservation advice on vulnerable species.

Environmental Defenders Office Queensland (EDO Qld) gives a strong legal voice to the environment when needed most.

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