Landmark climate litigation filed in the Federal Court

We’ve filed the documents and served the notice.

Our client, the Environment Council of Central Queensland, is taking Environment Minister Tanya Plibersek to Court in landmark climate litigation to protect Australia’s living wonders from new coal and gas.

These two proceedings are the first court challenges to a coal or gas decision made by Australia’s current Environment Minister.

This is huge – and could be a game changer for the fate and future of thousands of animals, plants and places that make Australia so special.

Who is the client?

ECoCeQ, is a small, diligent,. volunteer-run organisation from Central Queensland. They are David taking on the Goliath – for the fate and future of thousands of threatened animals, unique plants and iconic places like the Great Barrier Reef.

Surround by reefs, rainforest, koalas, and a staggering number of coal mines, the group formed out of rapidly growing concern for the health and future of the local environment and the impact local developments are having on our planet’s climate.

“The climate changing was affecting our natural wonders. The Great Barrier Reef, koalas, all the things that make us Australians, were in danger of slipping away,” ECoCeQ President Christine Carlisle says.

The organisation, born from the need to protect special places wildlife, has taken a bold step in their determination to ensure Australia’s Living Wonders can survive and thrive for generations to come.

What are the cases?

Our client is heading to the Federal Court to challenge the Minister’s assessment of two giant coal mines– Mount Pleasant Optimisation coal mine expansion and the Narrabri Underground Mine Stage 3 Extension, both in NSW.

They will argue the Minister acted unlawfully when she refused to accept the climate harm these projects are likely to cause, as outlined in thousands of scientific reports, including from the IPCC and her own department.

What is the legal intervention?

These two court cases are another brave step from ECoCeQ.

When EJA lawyers first submitted 19 requests and 3000 documents on ECoCeQ’s behalf to the Environment Minister last July, asking her to reconsider the climate impacts of nearly all new coal and gas proposals on thousands of our living wonders, we knew this was big.

Then, in November, the Minister accepted ECoCeQ’s requests as valid.

Public consultation windows for each proposal saw THOUSANDS of people across the continent voice their deep concerns about new coal and gas, and ask the Minister to recognise in her decisions the irrefutable science that new coal and gas poses a serious and irreversible risk of harm to our living wonders.

To ECoCeQ’s disappointment – and the dismay of many across the continent – last month, the Minister refused to accept the climate impacts of three proposals in ECoCeQ’s Living Wonders legal intervention.

This is why our client is taking Minister Plibersek to Court.

They argue Australia’s Environment Minister has a responsibility to make legally sound and rational decisions, and to act on all threats of serious or irreversible environmental damage. That includes climate damage to our environment.