MEDIA RELEASE for 5 December, 2016
The peak state body for conservation groups, the Queensland Conservation Council, has strongly criticised the Federal government for considering a concessional loan to Adani, to support construction of a rail line for its proposed Carmichael mega coal mine.
The announcement that the loan had cleared initial assessment hurdles under the Turnbull Federal government’s Northern Australian Infrastructure Fund came immediately after the same government had submitted a report card to UNESCO in an effort to keep the Great Barrier Reef of the ‘World Heritage in Danger’ list, following a significant coral bleaching incident associated with climate change.
The concessional loans are effectively a public subsidy for a rich private company.
“The proposal to offer tax-payer funded concessional loans to Adani represents a direct subsidy for climate change, and is paying a private company to risk the future of the Great Barrier Reef”, said Queensland Conservation Council head Dr Tim Seelig.
“The proposed Adani mine will add to the burning of coal, which will add to the impacts of carbon pollution and global warming – the very processes which have led to the devastating coral bleaching on the reef.
“The Turnbull government is essentially mean more coal and less coral, exactly the opposite of what we and the World Heritage Committee need to see.
“Prime Minister Turnbull and Minister Frydenberg cannot seriously claim to be friends of the reef when they are subsidising climate change.”
The concessional loans announcement came as Federal Environment Minister Josh Frydenberg made statements suggesting he would intervene in land clearing if it affected the reef, as if this was something that might only happen in the future.
In 2015, the Queensland Auditor General flagged that changes to Queensland’s tree clearing laws under the Newman LNP government posed a direct threat to the Great Barrier Reef’s water quality. Despite this, and numerous requests for the Federal government to intervene, the Turnbull government has not played a constructive role in addressing clearing threats in Queensland.
“Minister Frydenberg can’t be trusted on addressing land clearing in Queensland”, Dr Seelig added.
“If he was serious about doing something about tree clearing, he would have forced his state colleagues in the Queensland LNP to back sensible clearing law reform in August.
“He would also have intervened in the many instances of clearing affecting reef catchment areas, and indeed many other cases of land clearing in Queensland that have impacted on the habitat areas of threatened species.
“Let’s also remember that the proposed Adani mine site will involve the clearing of some 26,000 hectares of woodlands, as well as other environmental destruction. Some of this area is the best habitat left for the threatened Black Throated Finch.”
The Queensland Conservation Council has vowed to remind both Federal and Queensland governments about the range of threats that will be created by the Adani mine proceeding, including climate impacts, port and shipping issues, and landscape destruction.
For further information or comment contact:
Queensland Conservation Council Coordinator Dr Tim Seelig on 0439 201 183