The Australian Conservation Foundation (ACF) and the Australian Marine Conservation Society (AMCS) say a major environmental breach at the Abbot Point terminal shows Adani cannot be trusted with coal infrastructure and have called on the Queensland Government to seek the maximum penalty possible. 

As Cyclone Debbie bore down on Queensland, Adani sought and received a special licence from the Queensland Government to release highly polluted discharge into the Caley Valley Wetlands from a site next to the Great Barrier Reef World Heritage area.

Adani has now admitted to the Queensland Government that they breached conditions of this licence, exceeding their permitted pollution discharge limit to the ocean by more than 800 percent.  

That is 26 times more than the containment limit that Adani is normally allowed to discharge under their existing Environmental Authority.  

“Adani cannot be trusted. Their history of environmental breaches will continue. If the Carmichael coal mine is allowed to go ahead it won’t be any different,” ACF CEO Kelly O’Shanassy said.

“Everyday Australians aren’t allowed to get away with dumping their rubbish, Adani shouldn’t either. The government should throw the book at them.”

“The Queensland Environment Minister must ensure that his department takes all possible compliance action for this serious breach.

“Adani received relaxed limits and they couldn’t even come close to meeting those standards. They cannot be trusted with the Reef coast,” said Ms O’Shanassy.

“If Adani cannot safely operate Abbot Point coal port on a cyclone-prone coast now, the risk to the Reef will be that much higher if the massive Carmichael coal mine goes ahead,” said Imogen Zethoven, campaign director, Australian Marine Conservation Society (AMCS).

“AMCS was invited to inspect the Caley Valley wetlands last week, however, we were not allowed by Adani to inspect the discharge site next to the Great Barrier Reef. In the wetland, we saw what looks like coal sediment. The concentration of coal in the water released next to the Reef was far greater.

“Adani can’t be left in charge of self-monitoring its own pollution. An urgent independent and transparent investigation into Adani’s coal discharge is critical,” Ms Zethoven said.

The department reported the non-compliance on Wednesday evening here.

Media contacts
ACF: Peter Stahel (Essential Media) 0408 584 439
AMCS: Ingrid Neilson, Communications Manager, 0421 972 731

ACF Media Enquiries

Journalists with enquiries may contact Tom Arup on 0402 482 910 or Josh Meadows on 0439 342 992. For all other enquiries please call 1800 223 669 or email