A group of young Queenslanders are challenging one of billionaire Clive Palmer’s companies in a bid to block a proposed Galilee Basin coal project from getting the green light.
They say allowing it to be built would be a violation of their human rights because it will contribute to a global climate crisis.
“The human rights of my generation are threatened by coal mines that drive climate change and cause prolonged droughts, intense heatwaves, more frequent floods and deadlier bushfires,” Youth Verdict co-founder Mel McAuliffe said.
“We deserve a safe future but Clive Palmer’s coal mine puts that at risk.”
Waratah Coal claims to be the largest tenement holder in the Galilee Basin, with over 10,000 square kilometres of tenements, including 15 coal exploration permits, one mineral development license and two mining lease applications.
Its proposed Galilee Coal Project consists of two open cut mines, four underground longwall mining operations, coal handling preparation plants and a railway line to the Abbot Point coal port north of Bowen.
It would initially mine 10 million tonnes of coal a year before increasing to 56 million tonnes several years later.
Youth Verdict is joining forces with the Bimblebox Alliance, which has been pursuing legal action in the Queensland Land Court.
The alliance says the mining project is a threat to the Bimblebox Nature Refuge, an almost 8,000 hectare and largely uncleared property that balances sustainable grazing and high conservation.
Objections to the granting of approval for a mining lease and environmental authority applications is being brought by the Environmental Defenders Office.
It says the mining project and its operations would cause significant adverse environmental, social and economic impacts if it was to go ahead.
“Our clients are using the Queensland Human Rights Act, exactly as it was intended to be used, to allow Queenslanders to stand up for their human rights,” Environmental Defenders Office chief executive David Morris said.
“They have the right to a safe and healthy future and to be able to make genuine choices about their lives.
“Climate change limits those choices.”