Lock the Gate Alliance has labelled the Coalition’s net-zero emissions deal a farce after media reported the Inland Rail extension to Gladstone was a condition granted to the National Party - a move that is designed to open up a vast new thermal coal basin.
National’s leader Barnaby Joyce has spent recent months pushing for the extension. A feasibility study demonstrated that if the rail line was built, it would “unlock coal reserves in the Surat Basin and offer an alternative and more efficient access to export coal markets”.
The nine new coal mines that would benefit from the rail line, if built, would be responsible for 67 million tonnes of thermal coal per annum at a time when urgent action to mitigate global warming is required (see Appendix A of pre-feasibility study for list of projects).
The emissions from these mines would be huge - amounting to 160Mt CO2e per annum - which is almost a third of Australia’s total carbon emissions (Calculated using the National Greenhouse Accounts Factors).
“Through this deal, the National Party members in government have appallingly armed a carbon bomb through what is supposed to be a deal to reduce carbon emissions,” said Lock the Gate Alliance Queensland spokesperson Ellie Smith.
“This is a stitch up of massive proportions. The Nationals have secured a huge coal mining subsidy that will turbo-charge vast new coal mines as part of what is meant to be a deal to reduce carbon emissions.
“It’s a complete farce that will mean Australia will simply not be able to meet emissions targets and will instead be leading the world towards climate disaster.
“It’s not just the climate that will bear the brunt of this farcical outcome - farmers around Taroom and Wandoan will be hung out to dry and have coal giants destroying their land and water as a result”.