New Website Reveals Coal Breaches – But Queensland Keeps Them Under Wraps

A brand new resource released today by Australia Beyond Coal reveals the routine breaches by coal fired power stations across Australia. But Queensland continues to keep risks to human health and the environment largely hidden from the public.

The Coal Impacts Index compiles 5 years of pollution data on coal power stations in the National Electricity Market (NEM). It reveals 158 publicly reported breaches of environmental protection licenses since 2015.

But in Queensland, the Department of Environment and Science does not publish annual compliance statements on breaches.

“The breaches for Queensland listed in the Coal Impacts Index do not reflect the true extent of the state’s incidents. The frightening reality is, we simply don’t know how many similar breaches of environmental licences by our coal fired power stations are occurring every year in Queensland.” explains Queensland Conservation Council (QCC) Climate and Energy Campaigner, Claire Fryer.

Recent reports that toxic PFAS chemicals, which can lead to cancer and low birth weight amongst other issues, have been detected in groundwater near the Callide power station at Biloela only increase these concerns.

“CS Energy disclosed this information voluntarily, but they were under no obligation to do so,” explains Fryer. “When drinking water is found to contain toxic chemicals that can lead to cancer, and there is no obligation to report this, it’s extremely worrying for local residents.”

We also know that the Queensland government-owned corporations that run the six state owned coal fired power stations are together the second biggest corporate Co2 emitters in Australia. Stanwell Corporation and CS Energy, taken together, emit a whopping 33 million Co2 scope 1 emissions per year; only surpassed by AGL on 42 million tonnes. 

Auditor reports from the last financial year reveal that Government owned generators experienced losses of $367 million.

Meanwhile, well over $1 billion AUD will be spent on maintaining and updating the six government owned/controlled coal stations over the next 5 years, according to the Capital Program 2020 update. 

Queenslanders deserve to know what threats they face from the coal power stations they will be propping up for years to come.” says Claire Fryer. “The Coal Impacts Index is a critical initiative, but it also highlights just how little information the state owned coal stations actually share with the public.

“Coal power stations have been polluting our environment and putting our health at risk for years. It’s time that we were told when they are also breaching their existing licenses.”

The Coal Impacts Index is a website that tracks problems at coal power stations in the NEM, including: environmental protection licence breaches, breakdowns, carbon emissions and the release of toxic substances.