Representing a 17-year-old snorkel guide opposing Clive Palmer’s mine

Ava, a 17-year-old snorkel guide and year 12 student from Port Douglas, is taking on mining magnate, Clive Palmer, and Federal Environment Minister, Sussan Ley. She is deeply concerned about the impacts Clive Palmer’s proposed Central Queensland Coal mine (CQC) would have on the Great Barrier Reef.

Her whole family works in tourism, relying on the Reef for income, and she wants to protect their livelihoods and ensure people are able to enjoy the Reef’s beauty for generations to come. 

Despite the Reef being flagged as “in danger” from the effects of climate change by the UNESCO, the government is set to make a decision on whether the Clive Palmer-owned Central Queensland Coal mine (CQC) can go ahead.  

The mine is just 10km from the Reef World Heritage Area. It will have direct impacts on the Reef through sediment flows into the Reef coast, as well as fuelling climate change and coral bleaching. 

Our senior climate lawyer Hollie Kerwin is representing Ava, and has sent a letter to Sussan Ley. The letter stresses that the Reef remains ‘in danger’ from coal, and calls on Ley to reject the project.

The legal letter draws the Minister’s attention to the findings of a recent historic Sharma decision which found the Environment Minister owed a duty of care to children who may suffer catastrophic harm from the climate crisis. Ava wants Minister Ley to “pull it together” and recognise that continued coal mining in Australia puts both the Reef, and her generation, in danger.

I have a blunt message for Sussan Ley: pull it together. Think about young people who want to enjoy the Reef and one day, take their kids there. Think about young people at risk of climate impacts from the coal mines you approve. Think about all the jobs that depend on a healthy Reef.

Our Reef is in danger from coal and climate change, but also the Reef coast is no place for a coal mine. Reject the Central Queensland Coal mine, protect my generation and our precious Reef.”


– Ava Shearer

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