The Australian Conservation Foundation has described the Albanese government’s approval of an extension – through to 2073 – for the Gregory Crinum metallurgical coal mine in Queensland’s Bowen Basin as reckless and inappropriate.
“Following the hottest July on record, as we’ve watched climate change wreaking havoc in Canada, Hawaii, Greece and Italy – and with Australia’s Bureau of Meteorology warning of a dangerous spring and summer ahead of us – it beggars belief that the government would approve a 50-year coal mine extension,” said ACF’s CEO Kelly O’Shanassy.
“With the UN Secretary General recently warning the world has entered the era of global boiling, approving a coal mine that could be shipping coal to be burnt through to 2073 is reckless and completely inappropriate.
“No matter where in the world this coal is burnt, it fuels global warming and harms nature and people in Australia – things that are the responsibility of our government.
“The fact that this coal mine – along with recent approvals of coal mines at Isaac River and Ensham – has been approved under our national environment law, highlights again how that law needs urgent reform.
“The reform of Australia’s national environment law is taking too long.
“The Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation (EPBC) Act lacks any explicit requirement to account for the contribution new projects make to climate change.
“This needs to be fixed. It is untenable that Australia’s national environmental laws allow the approval of new fossil fuel projects that contribute to climate change and harm nature.
“While reform of the EPBC Act is critical, the slowness of those changes cannot be used as an excuse for the failure to stop approving new coal and gas projects.
“The existing Act contains broad powers for the Minister to refuse an approval for new fossil fuel projects and extensions.
“ACF urges Minister Tanya Plibersek to use these powers now and stop approving new fossil fuel projects immediately.”