The Australian Conservation Foundation has backed independent MP Andrew Wilkie’s push for a parliamentary inquiry into allegations the coal industry has been falsifying data to make it look like its coal is of a higher quality than it really is.

Mr Wilkie today told parliament he has documents from a whistleblower that show laboratories that certify the quality of coal shipments leaving Australia have been falsifying data to suggest coal is drier than their tests show. Exporters then sell the coal at a higher price.

The scam allegedly involves coal companies, testing labs, a major accounting firm and an investment bank.

“The Australian coal industry’s reputation is in tatters following these damning revelations,” said ACF’s Chief Executive Officer Kelly O’Shanassy.

“This should spell an end to Australian politicians – including Prime Minister Albanese – perpetuating the myth that Australian coal is somehow cleaner than coal from elsewhere.

“There’s no such thing as ‘cleaner coal’ and it’s taken a brave whistleblower to reveal the extent of the deceptions coal companies have engaged in to increase their profits and try to hide the true nature of their dirty product.

“Let’s be clear, all coal is dirty and all coal damages our climate wherever it is burned.

“This has potentially huge implications for the future of the coal industry in Australia.

“This raises big questions about the way coal is tested and analysed in Australian laboratories – questions that should be investigated by a parliamentary inquiry.

“How many Australian coal companies are involved in this scandal?

“What are the climate implications if more dirty Australian coal is being burned overseas?

“What are the health implications for people in China, India, South Korea and Japan – countries that buy Australian coal under the misapprehension that it burns cleaner than it does?

“To be a leader on climate action Australia needs to continue with the energy transition here at home and stop selling coal and gas to be burned in other countries.”

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