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First Nations, Bimblebox win in court decision against Clive Palmer’s Galilee Coal Mine

Today’s Land Court decision against Clive Palmer’s Galilee Coal Project will have welcome, far reaching consequences for all planned new coal mines in Queensland, say Lock the Gate Alliance and Environmental Advocacy in Central Queensland.

Youth Verdict and The Bimblebox Alliance challenged the project with the assistance of the Environmental Defenders Office on the grounds it would destroy the Bimblebox Nature Refuge, and would pose an unacceptable risk to the climate, and that human rights of First Nations People would be negatively impacted as a result.

In May, the court travelled to Erub (Darnley) Island and Poruma (Coconut) Island in the Torres Strait to hear first-hand how climate change is negatively impacting communities and eroding their ability to practise culture, now legally protected by cultural and human rights under the Queensland Human Rights Act 2019. 

Land Court President Fleur Kingham recommended the Resources Minister and the Department of Environment and Science refuse the Mining Lease and Environmental Authority on environmental, climate, and human rights grounds. 

Environmental Advocacy in Central Queensland director Coral Rowston warmly welcomed the decision.

“We hope today’s decision will mean other coal mining companies will think twice before attempting to force new climate wrecking proposals on Queenslanders,” she said.

“Despite what the coal lobby likes to think, Central Queensland is a place of remarkable natural beauty and vibrant communities. As Land Court President Fleur Kingham ruled today, Clive Palmer’s Galilee Coal Project directly threatened Central Queenslanders and our way of life.

“This is a fantastic decision and it shows burning coal threatens our climate and contributes to extreme weather events. No matter where coal is exported, it impacts on people’s human rights everywhere. 

“The decision also shows how the environmental costs to the Bimblebox Nature Refuge and of burning more coal cannot be outweighed by any perceived economic arguments.

“This project would tip the balance against humanity retaining any hope of remaining within its carbon budget.” 

Lock the Gate Alliance Queensland Coordinator Ellie Smith said, “We hope today’s Land Court decision will have far reaching consequences for new coal mines planned for Queensland. Land Court President Fleur Kingham was clear in her reasons - coal burnt from Queensland mines is worsening the climate crisis, and Queenslanders are directly suffering as a result.

“Huge congratulations must go to Youth Verdict, the Torres Strait Islander community members who gave evidence, the farmers who have fought this project for more than a decade, and all those who fought alongside them, especially the tremendous lawyers at the Environmental Defenders Office.

“It takes a lot of courage, time, and energy to stand up against the might of the coal mining industry, and these groups did so valiantly.

“This was a mine that proposed to mine under a Nature Refuge. It was in the wrong place and was definitely proposed at the wrong time in human history.

“Today’s Land Court decision shows how important it is for communities to have their day in court so that these decisions can be reviewed by an independent court. It is a great shame that the Queensland Palaszczuk Government is now putting these rights at risk with a review of community merits rights. Today’s decision demonstrates how critically important these rights are.

“We call on the Minister and the department to swiftly implement the court’s recommendation so that these communities can move on with their lives.”


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