November 4, 2023
Federal Environment Minister Tanya Plibersek will reassess 18 major coal and gas proposals, including Woodside’s North West Shelf and Whitehaven’s Narrabri mine, in a major step for a landmark legal intervention.
The Environment Council of Central Queensland, represented by Environmental Justice Australia, launched the legal intervention in July, requesting Minister Plibersek reconsider 18 pending coal and gas proposals to account for their contribution to serious climate harms across the country.
Climate change threatens more than 2120 protected Matters of National Environmental Significance, including World Heritage Properties such as Kakadu National Park and the Great Barrier Reef, the Australian Alps, Grampians more than 360 threatened animals including koalas and turtles and 1000 threatened plants.
In July, ECoCeQ handed the Minister a trove of evidence, now completely public for the first time, including fire maps, expert reports and the government’s own documents charting the impact of climate change on thousands of species, places and plants.
ECoCeQ President Christine Carlisle said:
“Until now, former environment ministers failed to take climate change into account when considering which animals, plants and places could be harmed by a coal or gas proposal.
“Assessing the risks and harm of new coal or gas should account for all the evidence, including how it would contribute to climate breakdown.
“Minister Plibersek will reassess 18 massive coal and gas proposals and right now we can all help ensure environmental law accounts for the reality of climate change.
“Each of the proposals across NSW, Queensland and Western Australia are open for public comment until November 24, so we can tell Minister Plibersek why we must protect our living wonders from catastrophic climate impacts. Because this is about all of us.”
“The climate impact of each of the proposed mines and gas fields will devastate Australia’s living wonders. Every single one will have immense and irreversible impacts on the animals, plants and places that we want our children and their children to know and love,” Ms Carlisle said.
Environmental Justice Australia Principal Lawyer Hollie Kerwin said:
“Our client has employed a rarely used provision of the EPBC Act to make sure the application of environmental law in Australia accounts for the reality of climate change.
“Minister Plibersek will reassess all of these proposals, and now it’s up to everyone in the community to speak up about why the contribution to climate change of any of these proposals must be considered when approving them, to protect our living wonders.
“Our client’s legal intervention is deliberately challenging proposals across our country. There are proposals to dig up more coal, bids to stay open for decades longer, and to drill major new gas wells. The science is clear. More coal and gas would just be adding fuel to the fire we need to put out.”
Projects to be reassessed:
- Australia Pacific LNG, Gas Supply Security Project, Surat and
- Bowen basins
- Bowen Basin Coal, Lake Vermont Meadowbrook Coal Mine
- BM Alliance Coal, Saraji East Mining Lease Project
- Caval Ridge Mine Horse Pit extension, Bowen Basin
- Cuesta Coal, Moorlands open cut mine
- Idemitsu Ensham Life of Mine extension
- Macmines Austasia, China Stone Coal Mine Project
- Mount Ramsay Coal Company, Baralaba South Coal Project and Transport Corridor, Bowen Basin
- Stanmore Coal The Range Project
- TEC Coal, Meandu Mine King 2 East Project
- Valeria Coal, Valeria Project
- Waratah Coal, Alpha North Coal Mine, Galilee Basin
- Whitehaven, Winchester South Project Mine
- Boggabri Coal Mine
- MACH Energy Australia, Mount Pleasant Optimisation Project
- Spur Hill Management, Spur Hill Underground Coking Coal
- Whitehaven Narrabri Underground Mine extension
- Western Australia.
- Woodside Energy North West Shelf Project extension, Carnarvon