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Alan Jones puts Government on notice: Moves to strip objection rights to mines puts democracy at risk

Popular broadcaster Alan Jones has put the Federal Government on notice over its plans to deny the basic right of communities to take legal action against mining projects that risk their land, water resources and communities.

Alan Jones has starred in a television commercial produced by Lock the Gate, where he joins farmers, landholders and local communities in asking the Federal Government to take this divisive plan off the table. The advertisement will air on Sky News from today and vision is available here

“This move by the Abbott Government puts at risk not only our environment but our very democracy,” Mr Jones says in the video.

Phil Laird, National Coordinator at Lock the Gate Alliance, said, "The Federal Government wants to strip away the rights of communities to object to dangerous mining projects by ripping up our basic legal rights and putting national assets like the Liverpool Plains and Great Barrier Reef at risk."

"In the advertisements released this week, Alan Jones has put the Federal Government on notice, and joined us to demand that they take this divisive plan off the table.

"We're grateful for Alan for standing up for communities and defending Australia from reckless coal and gas mining giants who are putting our nation at risk.  All we're asking for is a fair go, and the basic right to be heard in a court of law.

“The Federal Government had seriously misjudged the depth of concern from farmers, mining-affected communities and the legal profession about law changes to restrict  our our legal rights.

“But it’s not too late to stop these changes from going ahead/being implemented.

"We'remake sure every Federal politician hears this powerful message from Alan Jones and communities, as they return for the first time after the Parliamentary break,” he said

More information and video available here:

Media contact: Phil Laird 0428 712 622 / Jane Garcia (EMC)  0434 489 533

Background Information

In August, the Federal Government introduced the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Amendment (Standing) Bill 2015 to drastically limit who can go to court to challenge Federal environmental approvals.

It is designed to prevent communities from going to court to challenge bad government decisions, and restrict objection rights only to individuals who can prove that they are directly aggrieved by a mining project.

Key Facts

THERE IS NO PROBLEM WITH THE SYSTEM AS IT IS NOW: The Australia Institute has found that only 27 Federal projects have ever been subject to legal challenge, out of 5,500 projects submitted.

OBJECTION RIGHTS HELP PREVENT CORRUPTION: The NSW Independent Commission Against Corruption has found that decisions that can be challenged in court are more likely to be made well.

SMALL REGIONAL COMMUNITY GROUPS WOULD BE MOST AFFECTED: Most cases against mining companies come from small community groups who would have their rights ripped away by this Bill.

RESTRICTING CHALLENGES TO INDIVIDUALS IS DESIGNED TO END CHALLENGES: Individuals are unlikely to have the funds required and will be liable for massive personal costs if they lose.

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