In a huge win for our client, the Australian Conservation Foundation, the Federal Government has conceded the case brought against it over Adani’s North Galilee Water Scheme.
The scheme involves pumping up to 12.5 billion litres of water a year from the Suttor River to the company’s Carmichael Mine site.
The success of the case is a fantastic outcome, not just for our clients but for the broader community, who raised grave concerns about the effect this project would have on Australia’s precious water resources.
In conceding the case, the Federal Environment Minister has admitted the Federal Government failed to consider some of the thousands of valid public submissions about if, and how, Adani’s project should be assessed – in breach of the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999.
Those people were denied their right to a voice in this process. This win will ensure their voice is heard.
The Government has now gone back to the drawing board and opened up assessment of the project for public comment again. The Environment Minister must consider each one by law.
It’s a big moment in the Adani story, and it couldn’t have happened without the bold vision of ACF in launching the case, backed by the hard work and expertise of the Environmental Defenders Office (EDO) legal team.
The ‘water trigger’ and Adani’s NGWS
The Federal Environment Minister did not concede our client’s initial argument in the case, which was that the ‘water trigger’ should have applied to the Scheme.
The ‘water trigger’ is a measure that ensures any action which has a significant impact on water resources and involves a large coal mining development undergoes assessment under the EPBC Act.
The community is still no closer to having an answer on why the ‘water trigger’ was not applied to the North Galilee Water Scheme – a project which will take billions of litres of water a year from Central Queensland to service a coal mine.
The Australian people have a right to know the impact big projects like this have on their precious water resources. EDO will continue to assist the community in scrutinising the Minister’s pending re-assessment of the project