The Abbott Government’s approval of Clive Palmer’s coal mine in the Galilee Basin and the Surat Gas Expansion late today threatens the climate, the Great Barrier Reef, groundwater and biodiversity.
“The Abbott Government has snuck out two devastating decisions for the environment very late on the Friday before Christmas,” Senator Larissa Waters, Australian Greens environment spokesperson, said.
“With Tony Abbott’s blessing, Clive Palmer’s mine is set to worsen climate change, use the Great Barrier Reef as a shipping highway, clear fell the last remnant woodland in the region and push a precious endangered finch closer to extinction.
“Mr Palmer’s mine will rip up the Bimblebox Nature Refuge, an 8000 hectare patch of remnant native woodland, which provides scarce habitat for native wildlife, including the endangered Black Throated Finch.
“The condition attached to offset Bimblebox with another area is ridiculous – you can’t offset the loss of the last remaining significant woodland in the Galilee Basin.
“The enormous Surat Gas Expansion approved today, which is four and a half times the size of the city of Brisbane and includes 6500 wells, sacrifices Queensland’s land and groundwater.
“The Abbott Government’s statement goes to great lengths to specify that fracking won’t be allowed in the expansion, even though it then states fracking isn’t even required for this project.
“With Tony Abbott and Campbell Newman slashing environment departments and the recent onslaught of Galilee Basin mining approvals, there aren’t enough staff to properly enforce the paltry conditions attached to today’s approvals.
“The Abbott Government needs to realise we’re at the end of the fossil fuel era and we need to transition to the safe and viable clean energy alternatives we have on hand,” Senator Waters said.