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Canavan’s pre-judgement on Adani raises legal questions

Statements by Government Minister Matt Canavan in the media today indicate the Federal Government has already decided to approve Adani’s groundwater management plan, raising serious legal questions about pre-judgement and biased decision making.

Minister Canavan is not the decision maker on the plan, and the Federal Government is supposed to apply an independent process, but the Minister visited the Adani site yesterday and said their management plan would be settled in a couple of weeks.

“For Minister Canavan to effectively announce in advance that Adani’s federal groundwater plan would be approved smacks of political interference and bias” said Carmel Flint, spokesperson with Lock the Gate Alliance.

“The validity of any future decision on Adani’s groundwater management plan is now in serious doubt, and if it is approved it will fall under a serious legal cloud.

“We’re calling on the Federal Environment Minister, Melissa Price, to respond immediately and refer the plan to the Independent Expert Scientific Committee so the community can have some faith that it is not a complete stitch up.

“The fact is that the Minister Price’s own department released new research late last year which showed that there was likely to be much greater losses of groundwater due to mining in the Galilee Basin than predicted by Adani.

“With 58% of Queensland still in drought, and graziers across Central Queensland doing it tough, to ignore this new information and approve a plan without referral to the Independent Expert Scientific Committee would be an absolute disgrace.

“The move by Minister Canavan yesterday appears to be yet another ill-considered attempt to pressure the Queensland Government into approving the groundwater management plan despite the flaws it contains.

“Adani is also still engaged in legal battles with Traditional Owners, conservation groups, and is being prosecuted over its Caley Valley Wetlands spill in the wake of Cyclone Debbie in 2017” she said.

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