CANBERRA, AAP – Environment Minister Sussan Ley is being urged to stand up for Australian children and reject a new coalmine proposed for central Queensland.
The Australian Conservation Foundation is warning the minister that Glencore’s mine producing up to 16 million tonnes of coal a year for 35 years would result in at least 1344 million tonnes of climate pollution.
The Environmental Defenders Office, acting for ACF, says a coalmine case brought by school students has already established the minister has a duty to take reasonable care to avoid causing personal injury to Australian children and not contribute to catastrophic climate change.
The Federal Court, in May this year, in the Whitehaven Vickery extension case established the new duty of care to avoid causing personal harm to children.
“Climate change is the greatest threat to the Great Barrier Reef and coral reefs all over the world,” ACF spokesman Gavan McFadzean said on Thursday.
In the detailed submission seen by AAP, the EDO calls on the minister to exercise her power under environment laws to reject Glencore’s proposal.
The veto would be on the basis that the mine would have unacceptable impacts on matters of national environmental significance – namely that it would hasten the destruction of the Great Barrier Reef.
In July, the reef narrowly avoided being placed on the “in danger” list.
“There is no place for new coal mines in the third decade of the 21st century,” Mr McFadzean said.
“We call on Minister Ley to stand up for the reef, for the threatened species and for the future by firmly rejecting this proposal.”
He said the Great Barrier Reef has been whacked by three major bleaching events within the space of five years and scientists warn it could be hit again in coming months.
The proposed mining area is also known to be home to koalas, greater gliders and squatter pigeons – all threatened species in Queensland.
Glencore is yet to make a final investment decision on the open cut metallurgical and thermal coalmine, 27km northwest of Emerald and 270km west of Rockhampton, in a key agricultural region.
Ms Ley’s office has been contacted for comment.