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Adani cyber-stalks scientists and stops expert evidence being subject to proper public scrutiny: FOI documents

Freedom of Information documents have revealed independent Geoscience Australia scientists working on the Carmichael project’s Groundwater Dependent Ecosystems Management Plan were stalked online by Adani after their names were provided to the company by the Department of Environment and Energy.

The FOI documents also show Adani successfully pressured the Federal Government not to release expert advice on the impacts of the mine on groundwater earlier this year - advice that was only made public after the groundwater plan was signed off by then Environment Minister Melissa Price.

According to the uncovered emails, Adani was included in a video conference call with CSIRO/GA about the groundwater work in late 2018.  Then, on January 7 this year, Adani asked for the names of all GA/CSIRO scientists on the call, and this information was provided to them by DOEE (p44, FOI190418).

On January 15, a Geoscience Australia staff member wrote to DOEE expressing concern their LinkedIn profile and that of a colleague were both recently viewed by Adani (p746, FOI190417).

The FOI documents also reveal that in a January 25 email to DOEE, Adani demanded to know the names of all GA/CSIRO scientists working on the groundwater plans, and described other scientists who were advising on the Black Throated Finch Management Plan as “political activists” (p441, FOI 190418).

As well, on January 9, Adani wrote to DOEE demanding that CSIRO/GA reports not be released publicly or to third parties. On January 10 DOEE responded, saying it would share the advice with Queensland’s Department of Environment and Science, but would ask that it not be shared with other parties (p383, FOI 190418).

Lock the Gate Queensland spokesperson Ellie Smith said the documents were further evidence of Adani’s heavy-handed tactics and attempts to undermine the independent scientific assessment process. 

“Adani has been hell-bent on intimidating and bullying its way to getting its Carmichael mine approved,” she said.

“The company has heavied the Queensland Government and journalistsemployed so-called  ‘attack dog’ legal tactics to target opponents of its coal mine, and now has been caught singling out independent scientists.

“The scientists were clearly disturbed to learn their online profiles were being viewed by Adani - this is unacceptable given the scientists’ assessments needed to be totally independent and free of outside influence.

“Yet again, we have seen Adani eager to use any means necessary to drive its polluting coal mine through Australia’s assessment processes without doing the science needed to ensure it won’t destroy precious Great Artesian Basin spring systems.

“The community deserves to know what advice scientists are giving on mining projects well in advance of decisions, and the veil of secrecy that was drawn over the Carmichael mine to placate Adani is another blow to fairness and good governance in Australia.”


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