Australian news, and some related international items

High Court ruling a helpful precedent for opponents of Kimba nuclear dump

Peter Remta. 4 Feb 21, The High Court’s decision in the New Acland Coal Mine case (1) delivered by Justice James Edelman on Wednesday and based on the principle of “apprehended bias” should give great heart to all the community members in Kimba opposing the government’s proposed nuclear waste facility.

The background of the appeal is that a Queensland community group known as Oakey Coal Action Alliance and representing more than 60 local residents and landholders who opposed the proposed expansion of the New Acland Coal Mine on the basis that it would destroy otherwise productive agricultural land appealed to the High Court to stop the expansion.

In its unanimous decision delivered by Justice Edelman the High Court ruled that due to the way the original hearings had been conducted leading to previous decisions made by earlier courts favouring the coal mine expansion had been affected by apprehended bias with the result that the Action Alliance had not “had its day in court” and that it had not had the opportunity to present all of its arguments.

The rationale of the decision based on the principle of “apprehended bias” as stated by Justice Edelman in delivering the Court’s  decision was that

“these matters are insufficient to justify the highly exceptional course of this court refusing a rehearing for a party whose hearing was decided other than independently and impartially. Indeed, it cannot be said that Oakey Coal Action has “had its day in court” or had lost all of its grounds before an independent and impartial tribunal”.

The Action Alliance had been represented by the Environmental Defenders Office on the appeal to the High Court and the Kimba community members opposing the nuclear waste facility should immediately seek the assistance of the Public Defender on the basis of that appeal.

(1). Oakey Coal Action Alliance Inv v. New Acland Coal Pty Ltd & Ors

High Court Case No.B34/2020

This description of the appeal is partly based on the report in RenewEconomy by Michael Mazengarb on 3 February 2021 michael-mazengarb/

Additional reading:

The litigation against the New Acland Coal Mine involved a major and lengthy hearing in the Land Court of Queensland, followed by judicial review, a subsequent appeal and High Court challenge the history of which is extremely well described on the website of Environmental Law Australia .

This website is a free public service provided by Dr Chris McGrath, LLB (Hons), BSc, LLM, PhD, a barrister in Queensland practising in environmental law and an Adjunct Associate Professor in the School of Earth and Environmental Sciences at the University of Queensland.


February 5, 2021 - Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, Federal nuclear waste dump

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