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Australia’s PM criticized by environment groups for supporting Adani project

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Sydney: Even though the mining pundits are convinced that India’s Adani Group is all set to quit Australia because of continuous delays, Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott has come out openly to support the proposed mega coal mine project owned by Gautam Adani-led Indian conglomerate.

Photo credit: abc.net.au
Photo credit: abc.net.au

Abbot has expressed “anger” and “frustration” over a Federal Court decision to set aside the environmental approval for Adani Group’s proposed mega coal mining project in central Queensland.

“While it’s absolutely true that we want the highest environmental standards to apply to projects in Australia, and while it’s absolutely true that people have a right to go to court, this is a $21 billion investment, it will create 10,000 jobs in Queensland and elsewhere in our country,” Abbott said while talking to media on Friday.

“Let them go ahead for the workers of Australia and for the people of countries like India who right at the moment have no electricity,” Australian PM said while implying that coal exported from the proposed mega mine would have fired multiple power plants in the South Asian country.

Tony Abbott is believed to be worried about the message the Federal Court decision could give to the potential foreign investors. The continuous opposition to Adanis and other foreign investors, in general, can send wrong signals to those who are looking for investments in various sectors, he said.

“Already the Adani group has invested about $3 billion in Australia in preparation for this further investment,” Tony Abbott said.

Whatever the motive, the Prime Minister has come under severe attack for defending Adani’s project in Queensland’s Galilee Basin. Various political, environment protection and legal commentators have lambasted Tony Abbott for his comments.

NSW Bar Association president Jane Needham is among those who expressed concern at Tony Abbott’s ‘anti-judiciary’ remarks.

“These comments demonstrate a lack of understanding of the independent role of the courts in our democracy,” she was quoted in an article.

“The courts exist to make decisions according to the law, not to further the interests of particular individuals or organisations, including government,” Needham said.

Although the Australian Opposition leader Bill Shorten did not say anything against Adani Group’s coal mine, he attacked the Liberal Government for the “haste” with which it approved the project.

“Half this mess we’re in with Adani is because the government rushed its approvals and then it got tripped up in the court system,” Bill Shorten said in a statement.

The environment protection groups have also joined the chorus of criticism.

“The legal system is in place to protect us and the world around us. Clearly the government thinks it is above the law,” Mackay Conservation Group coordinator, Ellen Roberts said.

Adani too came under direct attack from others.

“It’s typical that Adani, who have ridden roughshod over India’s environment laws, consider Australia’s native animals mere technicalities.” Mackay Conservation Group coordinator Ellen Roberts has been quoted in Australian media as saying. Her organisation had launched the legal challenge against Adani Group

“These laws protect not only yakka skinks and ornamental snakes, but all Australian plants and animals,” Ellen Roberts said. These two illusive native animals see to have jeopardized the Indian conglomerate’s investment of $3 billion.

Greenpeace International, which is embroiled in a bitter legal battle with the Indian Government, has also fired a salvo at someone defending the commercial interests of a person considered very close to Prime minister Narendra Modi.

“It deeply, deeply concerns me when a government that claims to be, not only a democracy, but claims to be a promoter of democracy, would bark at the judiciary when they exercise their role and their independence,” executive director of Greenpeace International Kumi Naidoo said in a statement.

(IANS)

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Australia: Campaign Launches for Citizenship to be Granted to the Great Barrier Reef

The health of the Great Barrier Reef, declared a World Heritage Site by Unesco, has deteriorated in recent decades

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Australia, Campaign, Citizenship
The Change.org petition, addressed to the Ministers of Environment, Citizenship and Home Affairs as well as Prime Minister Scott Morrison. Pixabay

A campaign was launched in Australia on Wednesday to push for citizenship to be granted to the Great Barrier Reef in order to strengthen protection of the world’s largest living organism.

The Change.org petition, addressed to the Ministers of Environment, Citizenship and Home Affairs as well as Prime Minister Scott Morrison, highlighted that the Great Barrier Reef protects the country’s coastline and contributes about 6.4 billion Australian dollars ($4.5 billion) annually to its economy, as well as supporting 64,000 jobs.

“But despite her massive contribution to Australia, she’s still denied the one basic right of every Australian citizen – the right to live,” said the petition started by social media and entertainment publisher, LADbible.

The health of the Great Barrier Reef, declared a World Heritage Site by Unesco, has deteriorated in recent decades due to climate change, which also caused two deadly mass coral-bleaching events in 2016 and 2017.

Australia, Campaign, Citizenship
A campaign was launched in Australia on Wednesday to push for citizenship to be granted. Pixabay

The petition said that the ecosystem is being threatened by coal mining, greenhouse gas emissions and climate change inaction and proposed that it should be given citizenship to grant it rights including the right to health, freedom from torture or inhuman treatment or punishment, the right to maintain own means of subsistence and the right to life, Efe news reported.

In a 2017 world-first, the New Zealand government granted the Whanganui River legal personhood, giving it the same legal rights as a human being.

Also Read- Australian Scientists Determines Precise Location of Cosmic Radio Waves

The Great Barrier Reef, home to 400 types of coral, 1,500 species of fish and 4,000 varieties of mollusks, began to deteriorate in the 1990s due to the double impact of water warming and increased acidity due to more carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. (IANS)