Across Queensland, there has been growing resistance to the proposed Carmichael coal mine operated by Adani. It’s difficult to measure exact support but pollsters are predicting it may be a deciding issue for on the fence urban voters. Rallies, flyers and stickers have been popping up around Brisbane increasingly for the last 18-24 months and since Premier Annastasia Palazscsuk’s announcement of the election on Sunday, StopAdani activists have been popping up multiple times on her election tour around Queensland.
In 2014 changes were made to the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 so that the government does not have to consider expert advice before approving major developments such as mines and ports. Ironically, the Federal court overturned the initial approval because the Environment Minister Greg Hunt had not assessed the impact on 2 endangered species in the Galilee basin. Later, it was found a third endangered species was also placed at risk by the mine proposal.
The mine is opposed by the traditional owners of the Galilee Basin, the Wangan and Jagalingou people. Adani launched legal action with the Native Title tribune in 2015 to get the state government to compulsorily acquire the land and allow the mine to proceed. The court action is based on the premises that the mine is in the “public good” and that the spokespeople for the Wangan and Jagalingou people is not authorised to speak on their behalf. The High Court eventually ruled against Adani, however not before AG Brandis attempted to delay the ruling for an amendment to the Native Title Act to go through which would make it significantly easier for land use proposals (such as Adani) to be approved under the NTA. From what I can tell the amendment has been passed by the federal House of Reps but not the Senate yet.
Opposition to the mine has been consistent since the early days of the proposal, where an activism campaign led Premier Palascuk to promise and follow through with a ban on dredging within the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park. The creation of Adani’s Carmichael mine will lead to an expansion of coal shipping through the GBR carrying with it an increased risk of coal spills and ensuing environmental damage. Queensland Labour was also at one point considering a waiver of some of the royalties Adani would have to pay on the new mine.
Australian banks have refused to finance the mine.
Queensland farmers and handholders are concerned about massive groundwater usage and potential water pollution.