Australian news, and some related international items

Traditional Aboriginal owners will fight on against Adani coal mine

protestAdani mine leases – Queensland Supreme Court Judicial Review decision  25 November 2016

‘We will not be halted in our fight to protect our land and water, say Traditional Owners’

‘Further appeal being considered, full bench of the Federal Court still to rule’

“Today’s decision in the Supreme Court to dismiss Traditional Owners’ challenge to the issuing of the mining leases to Adani  by Mines Minister Anthony Lynham only strengthens our resolve and proves how worthless the State considers our common law native title rights to be, said leading Aboriginal rights advocate, senior Wangan and Jagalingou (W&J) Traditional Owner  and W&J Council spokesperson, Adrian Burragubba. …

Lawyer for the five applicants to the Judicial Review, Mr Colin Hardie says,
“My clients will review the decision and consider their grounds for an appeal, looking especially at the way in which they believe they were denied natural justice before the Minister granted the mining leases”.

““We are concerned with the way in which the Minister has failed to consider the native title rights of our clients, and their obvious and plain rejection of the Adani project.   The fully informed and prior consent of traditional owners for mining projects is increasingly being recognised in international law and it should not be any different in Queensland”, Mr Hardie said. …”

November 27, 2016 Posted by | aboriginal issues, Queensland | Leave a comment

Adani Carmichael coal mine faces many more questions and legal hurdles

legal actionCarmichael mine jumps another legal hurdle, but litigants are making headway, The Conversation,  Lecturer in Law, The University of Queensland, 27 Nov 16   The Carmichael coal mine planned for Queensland’s Galilee Basin has cleared another legal hurdle, with the state’s Supreme Court dismissing a legal challenge to the validity of the Queensland government’s decision to approve the project.

The court found in favour of the Queensland Department of Environment and Heritage Protection, ruling that its approval of Indian firm Adani’s proposal was within the rules.

The decision is another setback for environmentalists’ bid to stop the controversial project. But Adani does not yet have a green light to break ground on the project, and legal questions still remain, both about this project and about climate change litigation more generally.

The Supreme Court ruling Continue reading

November 27, 2016 Posted by | climate change - global warming, Queensland | Leave a comment

Queensland government gives Adani coal mine special privileges

Qld Labor exempts Adani mine from  public submission and appeals on groundwater  Environmental Defenders Office (EDO) 9 November 2016:
“The Queensland Labor government last night passed the Environmental Protection (Underground Water Management) and
Other Legislation Amendment Bill 2016 (EPOLA Bill) and Water Legislation Amendment Bill 2015 (WLA Bill).

coal CarmichaelMine2

““The Queensland Parliament has passed last minute amendments to the Labor Government’s groundwater protection laws.
The effect is that the public, be they conservation groups or local landholders, won’t have any submission or appeal rights
on groundwater licences relating to the Adani Carmichael mine,” said Jo Bragg, CEO of Environmental Defenders Office (EDO) Queensland.

“Adani will still be required to obtain an associated water licence, introduced through the EPOLA Bill.
However, an exemption has been explicitly carved out for Adani
which removes the public and the Court’s power to undertake normal scrutiny of this licence. … ”

Water reforms passed
– exemption from public scrutiny for Adani and retrospective dewatering approval
demonstrate regulatory capture by mining industry  Environmental Defenders Office (EDO) 10 November 2016:

” … two last minute amendments are highly concerning as to their impact on proper management of our water resources
in Queensland from mining impacts, and suggest regulatory capture:

“X   Exemption for Adani from public and Court scrutiny of groundwater impacts of Carmichael coal mine …

“X   Retrospective approval of dewatering activities for many mines in Qld! … ”

Green groups fume over Adani’s water licence exemption

November 14, 2016 Posted by | climate change - global warming, politics, Queensland | Leave a comment

Urgent need for public education and action on fluoridation of Queensland’s water

New Queensland Health data shows 3223 children aged 10 and under required hospital treatment in 2013-14 for dental caries (the scientific term for tooth decay or cavities).

More than 51 per cent of Queensland five to 10-year- olds who attended public dental clinics in 2014-15 had decay in their baby teeth. On average, four teeth were affected.

Decay in Queensland children aged five to 10 was 20 per cent higher than national averages to 2012-14 and 33 per cent higher in the permanent teeth of nine to 14-year-olds.

Queensland’s Chief Dentist Dr Mark Brown said he was concerned by the “high level of tooth decay” in children, describing it as “a significant problem”.

In terms of population, about three-quarters of the state has water fluoridation – up from less than 5 per cent before the Bligh government made fluoridated water supplies mandatory for communities of more than 1000 people in 2008.

But since 2012, changes made under former premier Campbell Newman have allowed councils to pull out of fluoridating water supplies.

“My concern is for the quarter of the population in regional and rural Queensland who don’t have access to fluoridation,” Dr Brown said. “That community is being left behind when most Australians now have access to water fluoridation.”.

Australian Dental Association state fluoride spokesman Dr Michael Foley said there was no doubt water fluoridation reduced the risk of decay.

  “We’re spending a fortune on general anaesthetics for kids with dental decay,” he said. “It’s stupid. Water fluoridation saves truckloads of money in saved dental costs.”

Dr Foley said he would like to see the State Government take control of fluoridating drinking water, rather than local councils. Continue reading

November 14, 2016 Posted by | health, Queensland | 6 Comments

Queensland’s solar hub in sunny Western country

map-solar-QueenslandSolar energy: Sunny western Queensland to become a hub for power farms, ABC News, 6 Nov 16  By Lucy Murray Western Queensland is becoming a major hub for solar energy, with the state’s largest solar power farm soon to go online near Barcaldine and construction of another major project about to get underway in Longreach.

Six solar projects partially funded by the Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA) were either recently completed or being built across Queensland.

Construction is expected to begin on another six projects next year.

With construction of the 25 megawatt (MW) Barcaldine solar farm now finished, work is underway to connect the 79,000 panels to the state’s electricity grid with about 580 kilometres of cable.

It will feed the grid with the capacity to power more than 8,000 homes once finished by mid-December, enough to light up Barcaldine 11 times over.

A short distance away, work will soon begin on the 15MW Longreach Solar Farm.

Canadian Solar was successful in the last round of ARENA funding and will begin construction on the project early next year……

November 6, 2016 Posted by | Queensland, solar | Leave a comment

Adani coal mine: Queensland Government publicly embarrassed over handling of megamine

October 26, 2016. A POWERFUL lobby of regional councils and business groups have started to publicly embarrass the State and Federal governments over their inability to pave the way for the $21 billion Adani megamine… (subscribers only)

October 29, 2016 Posted by | climate change - global warming, Queensland | Leave a comment

Canavan doing foreign miner Adani’s bidding

~ Wangan & Jagalingou
23 October 2016:

“Rockhampton-based Minister for Resources and Northern Australia, Senator Matt Canavan
“is feigning concern for Aboriginal people while relying on misleading media stories this weekend
which attempt to discredit the Wangan and Jagalingou (W&J) Traditional Owners counciland
our rejection of the proposed Adani Carmichael mine”,
said Adrian Burragubba, senior Traditional Owner and spokesperson for the W&J council.

“Mr Adrian Burragubba said,
“We are self-determined and stand independently
– and we have said ‘no’ to Adani and their Government backers more times than we should have to
and Canavan is using us to serve his own self-interest.

““Hiding behind one W&J applicant, who is named as one of seven who received funds from Adani in a deal to attempt to overturn our decisions,
shows nothing but contempt for our concerns.
We have taken our concerns to the courts in a series of current cases, to the public, and to the United Nations. … “

October 27, 2016 Posted by | aboriginal issues, Queensland | Leave a comment

“Direct Action” effect on greenhouse emissions would be wiped out if Adani coal mine goes ahead

coal CarmichaelMine2Adani coal mine would wipe out Direct Action gains within a year, estimates show, The Age,  Peter Hannam, 20 Oct 16, 

Carbon cuts made by the federal government’s Direct Action climate change plan by 2020 would be wiped out by pollution from a single coal mine in just over a year, new data revealed at a Senate estimates hearing shows.

Officials from the Clean Energy Regulator said that projects paid for from the first three auctions of the Emissions Reduction Fund – the backbone of Direct Action – would trim pollution by just 42 million tonnes of carbon-dioxide equivalent by 2020.

Even if all the remaining funds were spent – with a fourth auction planned for November 16 – emissions reductions are projected to total only 92 million tonnes by the year 2020, officials told senators.

By contrast, the Adani coal mine proposed for Queensland’s Galilee Basin would trigger emissions of about 79 million tonnes a year – nullifying the ERF’s pre-2020 abatement in little over a year if it proceeded……

October 20, 2016 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, climate change - global warming, Queensland | Leave a comment

Queensland govt’s push for solar power on all government buildings

map-solar-QueenslandSolar should power government schools, TAFE, hospitals: report, Brisbane Times, 13 Oct 16 Tony Moore  Solar panels will be installed in Queensland Government buildings including TAFE colleges, schools, hospitals and public houses, to help drive Queensland’s renewable energy from seven per cent today to 50 per cent by 2030, a far-reaching strategic report into Queensland’s renewable energy says……..
Energy Minister Mark Bailey on Wednesday night said the push to put solar on government buildings was now being explored.

“The Palaszczuk Government is currently investigating the use of solar PV on state-owned buildings,” Mr Bailey said.  Report author and investment banker Colin Mugglestone led a team of researchers who spent seven months analysing how Queensland should reach a position where 50 per cent of its energy is provided by renewable energy by 2030.

The state government now has 9 megawatts of solar panels on government buildings and hopes to generate 2000 megawatts of solar energy from government property by 2030, the report says…….

What could a renewable energy push to 50 per cent by 2030 provide? “It is projected that Queensland could reach 2200 MW of wind, 5200 MW of large-scale solar PV, and 4900 MW rooftop PV by 2030, including 5500 MW of new large scale capacity built after 2020.”

It could provide between around 6400-6700 extra full-time jobs, mainly in the construction of large scale renewable energy plants.

Last month the federal government’s renewable energy body ARENA agreed to fund $51.4 million to seed six new large-scale solar plants in Queensland. That will help potential big solar plants in Dalby, Oakey, Longreach and Kidston west of Townsville and two in Collinsville……..

What do The Greens say?“The Greens welcome this draft report, which confirms that clean energy is good for jobs,” Mr Bartlett said.”But we are dismayed at the years of delay, lack of ambition, and no transition plan for coal power workers.”

October 13, 2016 Posted by | Queensland, solar | Leave a comment

Traditional owners fighting Adani mine meet UN Rapporteur 

~ Wangan & Jagalingou Family Council 13 October 2016
“Traditional owners fighting Adani mine meet UN Rapporteur today:
“Raise ‘egregious failure’ of Qld Mines Minister & Coordinator General to respect Indigenous rights

“The declaration of Adani’s Carmichael coal project as “critical infrastructure” by Qld Government Mines Minister, Anthony Lynham,
is “a political absurdity, and continues the egregious failure of the Queensland Government to respect our rights”,
said Wangan and Jagalingou (W&J) Traditional Owners Council senior spokesperson, Adrian Burragubba today,
before a meeting with the UN Special Rapporteur on the Situation of Human Rights Defenders.

“Mr. Burragubba confirmed he would today raise this new development with Mr. Michel Forst,
who is currently conducting an official visit to Australia.
More detail about his visit is provided below.

“Mr Burragubba said, “Minister Lynham’s declaration is like calling a state of emergency for coal mining. Giving Adani this advantage provides cover for the abuse of the rights of Traditional Owners
who have stood firm in the face of the destruction that would befall their lands, waters and culture
if this massive, inappropriate project were to ever proceed.

““Adani and the Queensland government have used coercive powers under Native Title and State Development legislation, and the threat of compulsory acquisition of our land rights, to drive the development of the mine forward, over our vehement objections.
The Coordinator General, Mr Barry Broe, has been instrumental in making this happen and
this week Minister Lynham handed him even more power to override our legitimate concerns
about the destruction of our environment and the disregard of our rights”, Mr Burragubba said.

“Mr. Burragubba, and W&J youth spokesperson, Ms. Murrawah Johnson, said the meeting today  will build on a previous submission W&J made to the UN Special Rapporteur on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples  in which they sought assistance to deal with the failure of both State and Federal Governments  to properly respect the human rights of W&J Traditional Owners, as both Governments  fell over themselves in obscene haste to get Adani’s coal mine approvals out the door. … “

October 13, 2016 Posted by | aboriginal issues, Queensland | Leave a comment

‘reckless’ and ‘indefensible’ Carmichael coal mine approved by Queensland govt

coal CarmichaelMine2Queensland fast tracks ‘reckless’ and ‘indefensible’ Carmichael coal mine, Independent Australia  Renew Economy 11 October 2016 Minus financial backing, reneging on the Paris Agreement and even ignoring Adani’s own loss of interest in the project, the Queensland Government is fast tracking the Carmichael coal mine, writesRenewEconomy‘s Sophie Vorrath.

IN A MOVE that has been labelled “indefensible” and “reckless” by green groups, the Queensland Government has declared the massive Carmichael coal mine and port proposed for the State’s Galilee Basin as “critical infrastructure”, in an effort to fast-track its development.

State development minister Anthony Lynhamsaid on Monday that the Labor PalaszczukGovernment had invoked special powers to help progress Adani’s $21 billion project, reinstating and expanding its “prescribed project” status to include its water infrastructure…….

while governments of all colours appear to be rolling out the red carpet for the coal project, there are other hurdles it has yet to clear – not least of all economic ones – as coal looks more and more like a high-risk investment.

As John Quiggan wrote last month, a long list of banks and other funding sources have announced they won’t touch the project, or have pulled out of existing finance arrangements.

The list includes the Commonwealth Bank of Australia (formerly a big lender to Adani), NAB, the Queensland Treasury and global banks including Standard Chartered (another former big lender), Citigroup, JP Morgan Chase, Goldman Sachs, Deutsche Bank, Royal Bank of Scotland, HSBC and Barclays, as well as BNP Paribas, Credit Agricole and Societe Generale. The U.S. and Korean Export-Import banks and the State Bank of India have been touted as possible sources, but appear to have backed away.

Even Adani Group, the Indian conglomerate behind the project, has appeared to lose interest in its coal plans. And just this week, the energy minister for India – the main market for the coal that would be dug up at Carmichael – called on the country’s power generators to cease coal imports if the nation was to come good on its “One Nation, One Grid, One Price” energy goal…..,9578

October 11, 2016 Posted by | business, climate change - global warming, politics, Queensland | Leave a comment

Legal challenge to Adani’s Abbot Point plans in Queensland’s Supreme Court

coal CarmichaelMine2Adani’s Abbot Point plans face court challenge,SMH , 7 Oct 16   Whitsunday residents are bound for court in a bid to show the Queensland government failed the environment when it approved a port expansion for Adani’s new mega-coal mine.

Whitsunday Residents Against Dumping say dredging required for Adani’s expansion of the Abbot Point coal terminal, north of Bowen, could do untold environmental harm and the mine itself will fuel global warming and endanger the reef.

Lawyers for the group will appear in the Supreme Court in Brisbane on Friday, arguing Queensland’s environment department failed to properly assess the port project before it gave Adani the go ahead.

The expansion is needed to ship coal from Adani’s planned $16 billion Carmichael mine in the Galilee Basin…….

The action group’s case will be heart in the Supreme Court in Brisbane from 10am (AEST).

October 8, 2016 Posted by | climate change - global warming, legal, Queensland | Leave a comment

Australian Conservation Foundation (ACF) lodges appeal against Federal Court’s approval of giant Adani coal mine

coal CarmichaelMine219 September 2016  “The Australian Conservation Foundation (ACF) has lodged an appeal to the Federal Court’s decision which found the approval of Adani’s Carmichael coal mine to be lawful.

“ACF disputes the Environment Minister’s argument in court that the burning of coal from Carmichael mine will not have an impact on global warming and the Great Barrier Reef.

““This is a profound moment in the history of protecting Australia’s environment, as we attempt to stop a coal mine that would create 4.6 billion tonnes of climate pollution if it is allowed to proceed,” said ACF’s President Geoff Cousins.

““Australia’s system of environment laws is broken if it allows the Federal Environment Minister to approve a mega-polluting coal mine – the biggest in Australia’s history – and claim it will have no impact on the global warming and the reef.

““If our environment laws are too weak to actually protect Australia’s unique species and places,they effectively give companies like Adani a licence to kill.

““Be in no doubt, Adani’s Carmichael proposal is massive and will lock in decades of damaging climate pollution if it goes ahead, further wrecking the reef. … “

September 21, 2016 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, climate change - global warming, legal, Queensland | 1 Comment

Traditional Owners fight on: appeal Carmichael mine Federal Court decision


coal CarmichaelMine2   8 September 2016

“An appeal to the full bench of the Federal Court of Australia was filed today by -senior Traditional Owner and spokesperson for the Wangan and Jagalingou (W&J) family council, Mr Adrian Burragubba, challenging a decision of Justice Reeves in relation to the Queensland government’s issuing of mining leases for Adani’s Carmichael coal mine, handed down on 19th August 2016.

“Mr Burragubba said: “We said ‘no means no’ and so we will continue to resist this damaging coal mine that will tear the heart out of our Country. The stakes are huge.In the spirit of our ancestors, we will continue to fight for justice until the project falls over.

““The decision of the Native Title Tribunal in April 2015 to allow the issuing of the mining leases by the Queensland government took away our right to free, prior and informed consent.

It effectively allowed the government to override the decision that we made nearly two years ago to reject Adani’s ‘deal’,” Mr Burragubba said. … “

September 10, 2016 Posted by | aboriginal issues, Queensland | Leave a comment

Australian Conservation Foundation ordered to pay costs for Adani case

coal CarmichaelMine2September 8, 2016. ENVIRONMENTALISTS have been hit with a massive bill after a Federal Court ruling in just one of many cases against the Adani coal project, while a second group has launched yet another attempt to derail the project….. (subscribers only)

September 10, 2016 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, legal, Queensland | Leave a comment