By Glen Klatovsky, 350 Australia Campaigns Manager
The weeks following the re-election of the Morrison government were seen as a vindication of those who want to exploit the Galilee Basin, one of the world’s last great untouched coal basins, starting with the proposed Adani mega coal mine.
The Queensland government, elected just 18 months before largely due to its anti-Adani stance, capitulated and fast-tracked environmental approvals for Adani. These approvals have signed the death sentence for the black-throated finch and the draining and contamination of the groundwater.
Then, demonstrating the appalling failure of Native Title legislation to deliver true justice to the Indigenous community, the Federal Court dismissed the appeal by the Wangan and Jagalingou Family Council against the Indigenous Land Use Agreement nominally allowing Adani to mine the site. The decision of the Court was made during NAIDOC week, the week Australians celebrate Indigenous culture and history.
Adrian Burragubba, a Wangan and Jagalingou Council senior spokesperson, said:
Today is NAIDOC. A day of celebration for our community, where we come together to share our culture, and our dreams and aspirations, with our families and friends, brother and sisters. We join together in strength as First Nations people.
But this is a day to remember. On ‘black fella’ day the Full Bench of the Federal Court denied us our right to stand up and say ‘that’s our land and we’re not going to give it away.’
The Court’s decision would be shameful on any week of the year – but on NAIDOC week it is especially galling.
However, we still have hope that people power will stop the Adani mine.. The path to the building of the mine is fraught on all sides. As we found with the proposed LNG Hub at James Price Point, it is no easy task to build a massive, global scale development remote from any real infrastructure. Adani needs partners: engineering and design, construction, transport. They need insurance. They need a rail link, airports, workers camps. This takes time and legitimacy.
Instead, Adani has a litany of infamy. Just today the ABC is reporting that Adani faces further court action for allegedly lying in their annual report about the amount of tree clearing they had undertaken. Yesterday it was reported that Adani sought details of CSIRO scientists undertaking a review of their groundwater management plan to determine if they were “anti-coal”. This follows multiple prosecutions for illegal actions resulting in the contamination of the Great Barrier Reef.
And, for any prospective partner, there is the salient example of the working relationship between Adani and AECOM, one of the big infrastructure developers. The end result was an ongoing dispute of $12.5m that Adani refuses to pay.
Our shared focus now is on the next likely partner for the project, GHD. GHD is one of the world’s biggest engineering and construction consultancies. The #StopAdani movement is focusing on GHD, determined to ensure the company understands the reputation and business risks in working with Adani.
The fact is that the proposed Adani mine is not going to simply glide into construction and production. Virtually every major bank, insurer and developer has walked away from the project. The provision of public subsidies has been blocked at various stages. And the people of Queensland have clearly stated their concerns about the project time and again. We have much work to do to keep that coal under the ground forever.
Thank you for your continuing support and activism against this disastrous mine.