Adani’s controversial Abbot Point coal port expansion is facing a legal challenge from Whitsunday residents, with the first directions hearing to take place in the Queensland Supreme Court today.
The expansion is located 19 kilometres from the Great Barrier Reef, and was given Environmental Authority by the Queensland Environment Department in April this year, having received Federal approval in December 2015.
Local community group, Whitsunday Residents Against Dumping, argues that there is a uncertainty around whether the state department properly considered legislative tests when granting authority for the expansion to go ahead.
“There is a question mark over whether the Department of Environment and Heritage Protection properly assessed the project, as required by law, before it gave this billion dollar proposal the green light,” says Sandra Williams, spokesperson for Whitsunday Residents Against Dumping.
“It is critically important that the decision, which has such grave implications for the Reef, is properly scrutinised.”
Environmental groups have vehemently opposed the mine, citing concerns around its proximity to the reef and the dredging and dumping of soil on land.
At the time of approval, Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said the approved leases had undergone “extensive government and community scrutiny” and were a step towards securing jobs for region.
Traditional Indigenous owners of the land in Queensland’s Galilee Basin have launched a petition calling for the withdrawal of the mine.
‘We are gravely concerned about the push by Adani and the Queensland Government to open up the Carmichael Mine on our traditional lands.” said campaign spokesperson, Adrian Burragubba.
The case is set down for a hearing on October 7.