The Federal Court has dismissed gas giant Woodside’s attempt to strike out the Australian Conservation Foundation’s case to stop the massive Scarborough gas project until its impact on the Great Barrier Reef is assessed.

“ACF is pleased with today’s ruling and looks forward to presenting our evidence in court,” said ACF’s General Counsel Adam Beeson. 

“Woodside has failed to have our case struck out and must now deal with the substantive issue in court.

“If it goes ahead, Woodside’s Scarborough gas mine and its Pluto extension will produce vast quantities of climate-heating pollution for many decades. 

“No matter where Woodside’s gas is burned, it will contribute to the heating of the world’s atmosphere and oceans, bleaching coral reefs, including the Great Barrier Reef. ” 

Scarborough has never been approved under Australia’s environment protection law because projects assessed by the National Offshore Petroleum Safety and Environmental Management Authority (NOPSEMA) are exempt from the national environment law.   

However, that exemption does not apply if an offshore project is likely to have a significant impact on the World or National Heritage values of the Great Barrier Reef. 

ACF believes the greenhouse gas emissions that will result from the Scarborough project are likely to have a significant impact on the Great Barrier Reef.  

ACF was represented by Richard Beasley SC and the Environmental Defenders Office.

Environmental Defenders Office Special Counsel Clare Lakewood said: “The future of the Great Barrier Reef can’t be left to chance.

“We need to make sure gas producers comply with the law and the impacts of harmful new fossil fuel projects like Scarborough on the Great Barrier Reef are properly assessed.

“We now look forward to progressing this matter to hearing.”