Young Queenslanders and rural landholders, represented by the EDO, have appeared in Queensland’s Land Court for the first time in their landmark legal case against Clive Palmer’s Galilee Coal Project.
This is the first time a coal mine has been challenged on human rights grounds in Australia and the first climate change case by young people in Australia.
The directions hearing outlined the next steps in the case and set the final date for the hearing as May 2021.
Youth Verdict, a coalition of diverse young Queenslanders, will argue the Galilee Coal Project would cause a breach of their human rights by fuelling dangerous climate change that puts their futures, their lives and their cultures at risk.
They join The Bimblebox Alliance Inc., a group of landholders and conservationists who first objected to the mine in December 2019, arguing it would destroy the pristine woodland of the Bimblebox Nature Refuge and its inhabitants and be lost for future generations.
“The Bimblebox Alliance has objected to this coal mine because it will destroy a protected area – the Bimblebox Nature Refuge. Today’s hearing marks 12 years since Waratah Coal first applied to develop this mine,” said Sheena Gillman, spokesperson for The Bimblebox Alliance.
“The Bimblebox Nature Refuge is a sanctuary to thousands of animals and home to the iconic Rufus Betong. The 300 year old trees, heathland and wetlands that make up Bimblebox cannot be offset or replaced. Bimblebox is largely uncleared and in its natural state, it is a hotspot of biodiversity and must be protected.
“The Bimblebox Nature Refuge was created through contract in perpetuity and it’s disgraceful that the Queensland Government can just sign this away. We will fight this proposed development because it is totally inappropriate land-use to destroy this nature refuge for a coal mine.”
Youth Verdict co-founder Mel McAuliffe said, “Last month we launched our historic legal case against Clive Palmer’s Waratah Coal Project. Today is a step forward in our fight to protect our human rights from the worsening impacts of climate change.
“Youth Verdict members come from all around Queensland and many have experienced climate-fuelled droughts, floods, bushfires, storms. I grew up on a cattle station in Central Queensland during the Millennium drought. That experience motivates me to fight for the safe future my generation deserves.”
Sean Ryan, Principal Solicitor at EDO, said, “This is a significant case because it is the first in Australia to challenge a coal mine on human rights grounds.
“Today is an important first step in this landmark case, the first day in court for our clients as they challenge Clive Palmer’s Galilee Coal Project. Our clients are among dozens of parties objecting to the Galilee Coal Project.”