For the first time, an Australian coal mine was challenged on humans rights grounds.
Our clients Youth Verdict and the Bimblebox Alliance argued coal from the mine will impact the human rights of First Nations Peoples by contributing to dangerous climate change.
They also argued the mine would destroy the Bimblebox Nature Refuge which sits on top of the proposed mine site, on Wangan and Jagalou Country.
This case was also the first time an Australian court heard evidence against a coal mine on-Country and according to First Nations protocols.
“Our communities are on the frontlines of fossil fuel extraction and on the frontlines of climate change impacts.” – Youth Verdict First Nations Lead and co-director Murrawah Johnson
Meet some of the brave
witnesses in the case
Bulgun Warra Traditional Owner Harold Ludwick
Uncle Harry is on the frontline of climate change. Before his eyes, over 60,000 years of spiritual and cultural connection between Bulgun Warra people, animals and Country is fracturing.
As a cultural witness in the landmark human rights challenge to Clive Palmer’s Galilee Coal Project, Harry explains what will be lost if new coal mines, like Clive Palmer’s Waratah Coal, continue to be approved.
“We, the least responsible for climate change, will be the most impacted.”
Paola Cassoni, co-owner Bimblebox Nature Refuge
Over 20 years ago, Paola joined a group of locals who invested their savings to protect a near 8,000–hectare property from widespread clearing.
The Australian Government chipped in with a grant of around $300,000, with the condition that the site become an IUCN Protected Area.
Over 97% of Bimblebox is within the footprint of the proposed mining lease area applied for by Clive Palmer’s Waratah Coal for the Galilee Coal Project.
Jiritju Fourmile, Gimuy Walubara man and father of two young girls.
With the growing impacts of climate change on Gimuy, from the Great Barrier Reef, to the mangroves, to the rainforest, Jiritju and his family are beginning to fear how long they can stay.
“If I lost my stories and had to leave, I would lose my identity… I could still say that I am an Aboriginal person, but not that I am Gimuy Walubarra Yidinji.”
Florence Gutchen, Poruma and Erub, Torres Strait Islands
“When I was young and living on Poruma I had never heard of global warming or climate change. Now, I think about climate change all the time.”
“I did not have the knowledge that our island was being eaten away. Now, the island is very different from when we were young. There is no way we were expecting these changes. When part of my island is taken away by the sea, part of me is taken away too. ”
Lala Gutchen, Meuram person of Erub
“To fish, we use our traditional knowledges to help us to know where they are and when to find them. We use the moon and the tides to guide us. I hold the map of reefs around Erub in my head. Now, I am so experienced I can feel what kind of fish I have by the pull at the end of the line. 95% of the time I am right .
My fishing is being affected by climate change because it’s affecting our sea life and killing our reef. “
The fight to save Bimblebox Nature Refuge
Over twenty years ago, a group of locals decided to invest their hard-earned savings to protect a near 8,000-hectare property from widespread clearing.
The Australian Government chipped in with a grant of around $300,000, with the condition that the site become a Protected Area under the International Union for the Conservation of Nature.
The property became the Bimblebox Nature Refuge and was to be protected in perpetuity.
But over 97% of Bimblebox is within the footprint of the proposed mining lease area applied for by Clive Palmer’s Waratah Coal for the Galilee Coal Project.
Bimblebox is teeming with life, with a known 668 species of native plants and animals.
“If the mine goes ahead, over 20 years of assiduous conservation work would be lost and unrecognised.” Paola Cassoni, co-owner of Bimblebox
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Driven by dedicated supporters like you, Environmental Defenders Office (EDO) is the largest environmental legal centre in the Australia-Pacific, dedicated to protecting our climate, communities and shared environment by running groundbreaking legal cases, leading law reform and providing access to justice.
Defending the environment with and on behalf of First Nations peoples, community groups and individuals in the highest courts.
Holding government and industry to account over matters like development, pollution, and environmental destruction.
Designing and advocating for stronger state and federal environmental laws to protect our environment and native species.