This morning, as Adani faces fresh prosecution in Brisbane’s Magistrate’s Court, Environmental Justice Australia (EJA) and the Environmental Defender’s Office Queensland (EDOQ) are calling for an investigation into Adani’s suitable operator status and for law reform that would take into account Adani’s international track record.
Jo Bragg, Solicitor and CEO of EDO Qld, said “We congratulate the State Government for prosecuting Adani over the evidence supplied by our client, Business Services of Coast and Country, that the company provided false or misleading information to the Department of Environment and Science.
“This is a very serious criminal offence that could result in imprisonment or massive fines. Adani is misleading the public by suggesting it is merely administrative.
“This wasn’t an administrative error and it wasn’t self-reported. Our client caught Adani red-handed, at best misleading and at worst outright lying to the government.
“If Adani is found guilty of these recent charges, there are grounds for the Queensland Government to launch an investigation into Adani’s suitable operator status, and cancel or suspend their suitable operator registration. Cancellation or suspension would be grounds to revoke their licence to dig the Carmichael coal mine,” said Ms Bragg.
The legal organisations are also calling on the Palaszczuk Government to fix flaws in environmental protection laws that fail to take into account Adani’s shocking international track record.
“There’s a reason we have background checks in the law. It’s to manage risk and protect us all. Not taking into account a company’s environmental record in overseas jurisdictions, puts our air, water and wildlife at severe risk from companies like Adani with shocking environmental records overseas,” said Ariane Wilkinson, Senior Lawyer at EJA.
The Queensland Government is prosecuting Adani for providing false or misleading information, carrying a penalty of up to 2 years in prison or a fine of up to $2.8 million for the company.
The charge relates to information Adani supplied about site disturbance at the site of their Carmichael coal mine in Queensland’s Galilee Basin in their most recent annual return.
Overseas, entities in the Adani Group have a concerning history of failures to comply with environmental laws. The Adani Group’s global legal compliance record demonstrates numerous serious breaches with adverse consequences for the environment and local people.
Under Queensland’s environmental laws, none of this record is taken into account when assessing Adani for ‘suitable operator’ status.
A suitable operator is a person or corporation who has been registered by the Department of Environment and Science as being suitable to carry out an environmentally relevant activity (ERA).