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Productivity Review enquiry into resource regulation is an unnecessary waste

05 August, 2019

The August announcement of a lengthy and costly review by the Productivity Commission into resource regulation of the resources sector is an unnecessary waste of taxpayer money, primarily intended to benefit the mining industry.

EDO Qld CEO Jo-Anne Bragg said:

“The inquiry announced by Minister Canavan is a waste of public money that could be better spent where it is urgently needed – transitioning Australia away from fossil fuels.

“Minister Canavan is spending taxpayer money asking the Productivity Commission to do work they have already done in an attempt to get a different response – one that is better suited to the mining lobby.

“The Productivity Commission has already examined these issues in 2013 and found that there was a public interest in broad community appeal rights and that the existing protections against vexatious litigation did not need to be strengthened.

“Successive reviews have consistently found no evidence of abuse of the legal system to delay projects.

“On the contrary, community appeals provided a safeguard against corruption and have helped ensure the law is complied with.

“The truth is the Federal Government and mining companies like Adani have repeatedly failed to do their homework and abide by Australia’s environmental laws – now they want to rewrite the rules at the expense of the community.

“In 2015 the failure of the Federal Government to comply with the law in the approval of Adani’s Carmichael mine resulted in the approval being cancelled and remade according to law.

“This year, the failure of the Federal Government to demonstrate compliance with the law in the assessment of Adani’s North Galilee Water Scheme resulted in the assessment having to be restarted, to properly consider public comments.

“Similarly, many of the “delays” in Adani’s Carmichael project are due to the company submitting substandard plans that do not address the correct criteria necessary to result in the approval of their environmental plans.

“The Federal Government and mining companies like Adani simply need to comply with existing environmental protection laws and they will no longer experience these so-called “delays”.

“We already know that restricting community appeal rights is unnecessary and dangerous, so it should be taken out of the scope of the Productivity Commission review.

“It is also a waste for the Productivity Commission to consider how to reduce the time it takes for new fossil fuel projects to get a “yes” or “no” answer.

“The science is clear that no new fossil fuel project is consistent with preserving the Great Barrier Reef.

“The world has agreed under the Paris Agreement to pursue efforts to limit global warming to 1.5°C and there is no credible pathway to that goal that includes expanding fossil fuels.

“Australia should do its part and adopt a policy today that all fossil fuel projects are clearly unacceptable in the time of a climate emergency.

“It would also be economically reckless to expand our dependency on an industry that the world has agreed has no future.

“Giving the investors the “no” today would dramatically reduce the assessment times for fossil fuel projects.

“Taking community rights and fossil fuel projects off the table for the Productivity Commission review would free up taxpayer dollars to where they can be better spent – supporting regional communities in transitioning away from the ill-fated dirty jobs of the past to the sustainable clean jobs of the future.”

 

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

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