A Qld court has recognized the cultural rights of First Nations people in a landmark ruling against a mine.
Clive Palmer’s planned thermal coal mine in Queensland must be rejected because it risks “unacceptable climate change impacts” on the environment and human rights, a court has found.
Queensland’s Land Court has upheld an objection to Palmer-owned Waratah Coal’s Galley project, west of Rockhampton, after a three-year court battle.
The Environmental Defenders Office, on behalf of Youth Verdict and The Bumble Box Alliance, opposed the mine on human rights grounds, arguing that it would exacerbate climate change and destroy nearby natural reserves.
Court president Flor Kingham found that although the mine was intended for export, “wherever the coal is burned, it will contribute to environmental damage, including in Queensland.”
It has recommended that the government reject the mining lease and environmental authority for the Waratah project.
“In conclusion, I have decided that a climate scenario consistent with a viable mine risks unacceptable impacts of climate change on the people and property of Queensland,” President Kingham said in his decision on Friday. Even considering the economic and social benefits of the project”.
It found that the mine’s contribution to climate change would also limit the human rights of Queenslanders, including the right to life, property, privacy and home, children’s rights and the cultural rights of First Nations people.
“Having done my best to assess the nature and extent of the limitation caused by the project, I have determined that the limitation is clearly not justified,” President Kingham said.
“For each right, considered individually, I have determined the importance of protecting the right, given the nature and extent of the limitations, the mine’s economic benefits and contribution to energy security for the Southeast. weighs more in the balance than the benefit of putting in. Asia.”
The court found that the potential impact of depletion from mining under the nearby 8000 hectare Bumblebox Nature Reserve was also uncertain and potentially severe.
“The evidence suggests that this refuge will be lost and the ecological values of Bimblebox will be seriously and possibly irreparably damaged,” said President Kingham.
The court president said his decision was a recommendation to the minister and the department, who would make the final decisions on the Waratah mining lease and environmental authority.
“The Queensland Government will consider the recommendations carefully,” a government spokesman told AAP on Friday afternoon.
Marwah Johnson (R) says First Nations people won’t stand by while coal-fueled climate change ravages the country. Source: AAP / Darren England/AAP Image
‘We will not be together’
Youth Verdict co-ordinator and woman in uniform, Marwa Johnson, said she was delighted that the “Court of the West” had recognized the cultural rights of First Nations people.
“The government should now accept the court’s recommendation and reject Palmer’s wet coal project approvals,” he said in a statement.
“Billionaire Clive Palmer wants to line his pockets by building a new coal mine at a time when we should be moving away from extractive industries that are destroying the country and fueling climate change.
“First Nations people will not stand by while coal-fueled climate change destroys our lands and further threatens our connections to culture.”
EDO managing counsel Sean Ryan also called on the state government to follow the court’s advice and immediately reject the proposed Waratah mine.
“Our clients successfully targeted the root cause of accelerating climate impacts on their land and seas, which is coal.
“This win keeps billions of tons of carbon safely stored in the ground where it belongs.”