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Adani’s Carmichael coal mine project in the soup; Federal Court reconsiders proposal


The approval of Adani’s Carmichael coal mine in central Queensland is facing problems and has been declared invalid by the Federal Court stating that the environment minister had not properly considered advice regarding two vulnerable species.

By NewsGram Staff Writer

Photo credit: Livemint
Photo credit: Livemint

The $16 billion coal mine and 189 km rail link, which was approved by the Federal Government in July 2014, is being reconsidered by the court after it came to light that Environment Minister Greg Hunt had not properly consulted with experts about the yakka skink and the ornamental snake, both the species close to extinction.

The court’s order was challenged by the Mackay Conservation Group, an environmental organisation in the Mackay region in Queensland, Australia, in January arguing that the impacts of the project on the climate and threatened species had not been properly addressed.

The court ruling has been consented to by Indian company Adani and the Federal Government.

The court statement says, “This is a technical, administrative matter and to remove this doubt, the department has advised that the decision should be reconsidered.”

“Without pre-empting a final decision about the project, the department expects that it will take six to eight weeks to prepare its advice and the supporting documentation, and for the Minister to reconsider his final decision.”

Environmental Defenders Office principal solicitor Sue Higginson, who represents the Mackay Conservation Group, said: “What can happen from here is the Minister can re-make his decision, and of course in remaking that decision he can approve the mine again following the proper legal procedures, or he can refuse the mine; that is the legal power open to the Minister.”

If approved, the proposed Carmichael mine would have been Australia’s largest coal mine exporting up to 60 million tonnes of coal from across the Great Barrier Reef Coast every year.

Adani said that the company will ensure that the mine, rail and port projects in Queensland will be developed keeping in mind the environmental conditions.

Adani said that the approval did include appropriate conditions to manage the species protection of the yakka skink and ornamental snake “but we have been advised that, because certain documents were not presented by the Department in finalising the approval, it created a technical legal vulnerability that is better to address now.”

Queensland Resources Council chief executive Michael Roche said that “legal loopholes” provided the necessary grounds for anti-coal activists to delay billions of dollars in investment and thousands of jobs.

State Mines Minister Anthony Lynham said, “There’s been a judicial review and I believe it’s a technical error, but we’re asking the Federal Government, and the Federal Environment Minister to sort this out as quickly as possible.”

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29-Year-Old Indian origin Bus Driver Manmeet Alishera killed in Australia

Several passengers on board the bus at the time managed to escape via the rear doors

Representational image. Flickr

Sydney, October 28, 2016: A 29-year-old bus driver of Indian origin was burnt to death on Friday while sitting behind the wheel in a shocking and senseless attack in Australia’s Queensland state.

A 48-year-old man at the scene was arrested after he allegedly climbed aboard the bus in Brisbane before “throwing some type of incendiary device at the driver”, Xinhua news agency quoted Queensland Police Commissioner Ian Stewart as saying in Brisbane.

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“Sadly the driver, Manmeet Alishera, 29-year-old man, died as a result of his injuries,” Stewart said.

There is no evidence of any linkage to “terrorist type activities” or links to a racial motivation, Stewart said.

“While we don’t know the motivations at this stage, I want to reassure the community that we take these incidents very seriously,” Stewart said, adding counter-terror authorities were initially involved.

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Local media reported that Manmeet Alisher was a beloved Indian singer and prominent figure in Brisbane’s Punjabi community.

He was described as a soft spoken, courteous and genuine man.

Several passengers on board the bus at the time managed to escape via the rear doors “partly because of the heroic actions of a taxi driver who saw what was unfolding”, Stewart said.

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Six people were taken to hospital for smoke inhalation and minor injuries.

Queensland has been in mourning over the past week following the deaths of four people in Australia’s largest amusement park Dreamworld and the murder of a woman in Brisbane. (IANS)