The Day the Earth Moved in the Galilee Basin


by Viv Forbes, ©2019, Executive Director, The Saltbush Club

(May 24, 2019) — The proposed Adani mine has been wading through a green swamp of political obstacles for nine long years. Other coal optimists have struggled to develop coal in the Galilee Basin for over 40 years. Federal Labor, State Labor and the Greens have taken turns to man the anti-coal barricades.

In these bad new days, before anyone can open a mine they need multiple approvals, each one providing opportunities for do-nothing activists to raise new hurdles at every hearing. The whole process of judicial judgements and reviews, enquiries, objections, hearings and re-hearings has been a gold mine for lawyers and barristers and a bottomless pit into which mine optimists throw money.

Nine years ago, Labor Premier Anna Bligh declared Adani “a significant project for Queensland”.

The Queensland Co-ordinator General gave Adani approval to proceed in 2014.

The Federal Government also gave its approval to proceed in 2014 but that approval was set aside because of complaints by the Mackay Conservation Council, the Australian Conservation Foundation and others that the yakka skink, the ornamental snake, koalas, the waxy cabbage palm and the black throated finch would be disturbed. And of course the Great Barrier Reef, the coastal seagrass and inland ground water would be threatened.

The ACF and the Greens have also cowed most Australian banks into denying finance to the Carmichael Project. Native title rights have been asserted by two groups, and Greenpeace and the Climate Council have run scare campaigns on Greenhouse gas emissions should Adani go ahead. Naturally the ABC gives all Adani opponents good air time.

Just 5 months ago the anti-Adani Deputy Premier of Queensland, Jacki Trad, said she did not believe the Adani project would ever get off the ground.

But immediately after the recent Federal election landslide which left the ALP holding zero federal seats north of Brisbane, and winning only one of the six Queensland senate vacancies, Queensland Premier Palaszczuk flew north to Mackay and demanded that her departments produce firm timeline for Adani decisions “by Friday” (today).

What a difference a day makes.

Viv Forbes
Executive Director, The Saltbush Club
Washpool  QLD Australia

Some reading:

Viv Forbes is a geologist with long experience in the primary industries of Northern Australia. He is not a member of any political party, and has no vested interests in mining, energy or bio-fuels. However he has first-hand experience of the Galilee swamp when, as a senior executive of Waratah Coal, the project development proposal was rejected by the federal Labor Environment Minister Peter Garrett. That project is still languishing.

One Response to "The Day the Earth Moved in the Galilee Basin"

  1. G.MILLS   Saturday, May 25, 2019 at 9:09 PM

    how can viv forbes say he has no vested interest when he used to work for warratah coal?? surely that has bias in his opinion. i notice there was not one word about by far the biggest environmental impact. which is also something that has been swept under the table throughout the election. the massive amount of water that will be needed. just one of the proposed mines will have a huge impact. if all 9 are approved, that will be an unmitigated disaster. not even experts can say with any confidence what the effect will be. so there is no way that any miner can say their mines will not affect the underground aquifers and there will also be the need to dam flood waters, which will be the end of lake eyre. that will never be in flood again while these mines are in operation. and ALL the towns and communities in a huge area rely on the water table for water, so even without it being polluted it will become more expensive as the level drops.

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