In what is being interpreted as fresh trouble for the Adanis in Australia, who are on way to set up USD 16 billion dollar coal mining project in the Queensland state, a local court has asked the Federal Government to listen to public grievances on Adani’s North Galilee Water Scheme.
The Australian Conservation Foundation (ACF), which had filed a case the Federal Government has said that the latter has conceded public grievances on the Adani’s water scheme were ignored.
ACF said, "This is a massive outcome for the broader community, who raised grave concerns about the effect this project would have on Australia’s precious water resources", adding, "In conceding the case, the Federal Environment Minister has admitted the Federal Government failed to consider all of the thousands of valid public submissions about if and how Adani’s project should be assessed, in direct breach of the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999."
According to ACF, "Those people were denied their right to a voice in this process. This win will ensure their voice is heard. Now the Government will need to go back to the drawing board and open up assessment of the project for public comment again. It’s a big moment in the Adani story, and it couldn’t have happened without the bold vision of ACF in launching the case, backed by the hard work and expertise of the legal team."
It continued, "This win is a humiliating outcome for the Federal Government over its assessment of Adani’s North Galilee Water Scheme – the plan to pump up to 12.5 billion litres of water a year from the Suttor River to the company’s Carmichael mine site. Thousands of Australians made valid public comments on Adani’s North Galilee Water Scheme referral, many concerned about the project’s impact on our precious water resources during a time of extreme drought."
According to ACF, "The Federal Environment Minister has now admitted her delegate did not consider these comments, as required by law. In fact, she has admitted that her Department lost an unknown number of public comments made over the controversial project. This botched process points to a worrying lack of oversight in core assessment procedures designed to protect Australia’s precious water resources."
It insisted in a statement, "The Federal Environment Minister did not concede our client’s initial argument in the case, which was that the ‘water trigger’ should have applied to the Scheme. The ‘water trigger’ is a measure that ensures any action which has a significant impact on water resources and involves a large coal mining development requires a more rigorous assessment under the EPBC Act."
It added, "The community is still no closer to having an answer on why the ‘water trigger’ should not have applied to the North Galilee Water Scheme – a project which will take billions of litres of water a year from Central Queensland to service a coal mine. The Australian people have a right to know the impact big projects like this have on their precious water resources."
This article was first published in CounterView