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Win for climate, water, communities as Waratah Coal sent packing

The Queensland Environment Department’s refusal of an environmental authority for Clive Palmer’s massive Galilee Coal Project is the latest sign that greenfield coal mines have no future in the sunshine state.

The decision comes after the Queensland Land Court recommended the mine be refused in response to a challenge by Youth Verdict and the Bimblebox Alliance.  

As part of the hearing, 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.

Environmental Advocacy in Central Queensland director Coral Rowston said, “Praise really must go to the Bimblebox Alliance, Youth Verdict, and all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities who challenged this clearly unacceptable coal mine proposal.

“If it had been allowed to proceed, it would have mined beneath the Bimblebox Nature Refuge, drained groundwater relied on by both farmers and the environment in the region, and supercharged catastrophic climate change.

“With yesterday’s decision, another precious part of Central Queensland is saved from the coal mining lobby and preserved for future generations to enjoy.”

The decision to reject the mine’s environmental authority comes after it was revealed coal mining giant Glencore would not be proceeding with its $7 billion Wandoan coal mine, placing two other proposed coal projects in the north Surat Basin in doubt. Glencore has also recently scrapped plans for its $2 billion Valeria Project in Central Queensland.

Lock the Gate Alliance National Coordinator Ellen Roberts said, “All across Queensland, mooted coal projects are being scrapped or rejected.

“But the battle is not yet won. Coal companies like Whitehaven and New Hope refuse to read the writing on the wall and are pushing dangerous, extreme weather causing coal projects in Queensland.

“We urge these companies to abandon coal and pivot to more sustainable renewable energy alternatives, and for the Queensland Palaszczuk Government to likewise reject environmental authorities for new coal projects.

“Extreme weather caused by the burning of fossil fuels is threatening Queenslanders like never before. Governments can no longer approve new coal projects if humanity is to stand a chance of avoiding the most catastrophic impacts of the climate crisis.”


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