EDO is heading to court on behalf of young Queenslanders and landholders to challenge Clive Palmer’s proposed Galilee Coal Project, in a case that’s set to make legal history.

For the first time an Australian coal mine is being challenged on human rights grounds. It’s also the first climate mitigation case brought by young people in Australia.

EDO’s client Youth Verdict represents Indigenous and non-Indigenous young people whose lives will be severely impacted by climate change that, EDO argues, is in breach of their human rights.

Youth Verdict joins The Bimblebox Alliance in opposition to Waratah Coal’s huge mine. This group of farmers, landholders and their supporters have spent years defending the Bimblebox Nature Refuge, almost 8000-hectares of remnant woodland, a haven for native wildlife and plants. The Refuge would be devastated by the Galilee Coal Project, which would destroy the habitat of more than 173 birds, for example, including vulnerable and endangered species.

Both groups object to the Mining Lease and Environmental Authority for the Galilee Coal Project with the Land Court of Queensland. This week they file papers to become active objectors in the court case.

EDO’s clients will argue the mine will infringe upon six human rights: the rights of the child; the right to life; the right to be free from discrimination; the cultural rights of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples; the right to property; and the right to privacy.

Meet some members of Youth Verdict


If the case is successful, the Land Court of Queensland will recommend that the Mining Lease and Environmental Approval for the Galilee Coal Project is refused.  It will be then up to the minister to act on the recommendation.

“This is a case about the incompatibility of new coal mines with established human rights, and it’s about the kind of world we want to leave our children,” says EDO CEO David Morris.

“Decisions to open new coal mines today unfairly burden the next generations who will suffer the worst consequences of climate change.

“The evidence shows, we cannot afford to dig up any more coal, but the more coal we dig up and burn the worse these impacts are. There will be more intense cyclones, more prolonged droughts, deadlier bushfires, and the loss of the Great Barrier Reef and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Island cultural places. These impacts affect human rights of Queenslanders protected under Queensland law. 

“Our clients are using the Queensland Human Rights Act, exactly as it was intended to be used, to allow Queenslanders to stand up for their human rights. They have the right to a safe and healthy future and to be able to make genuine choices about their lives. Climate change limits those choices. “

Read more about our groundbreaking human rights case: