Queensland Senator Matt Canavan has condemned court action announced by environmental activists today set to further delay development of the Carmichael coal mine.
“The Australian Conservation Foundation (ACF) is hurting Queensland families by blocking the growth in regional economies and the new jobs that would be created by development of this mine,” Senator Canavan said.
“Queensland families are being held to ransom by the Melbourne-based Australian Conservation Foundation.
“It’s time we cracked down on green activism. Activists aren't interested in protecting the environment – they are pursuing an ideological agenda against coal. In doing so, they are putting at risk thousands of jobs and development in Central Queensland.
“Enough is enough. The approval process for this mine has been going on for more than 1,800 days. Investors deserve to know whether we will welcome jobs and investment in regional areas.”
Senator Canavan said ACF court action is a “sad and cynical exercise that comes straight out of the activists’ now well-publicised strategy document called Stopping the Australian Coal Export Boom”.
“This document is very explicit about its aim: ‘Our strategy is essentially to ‘disrupt and delay’ key projects and infrastructure while gradually eroding public and political support for the industry and continually building the power of the movement to win more.’
“How they use the court system is very clear in their strategy document too: ‘The first priority is to get in front of the critical projects to slow them down in the approval process. This means lodging legal challenges to five new coal port expansions, two major rail lines and up to a dozen of the key mines. This will require significant investment in legal capacity. While this is creating much needed breathing space, we need to continue to build the movement and mobilize to create pressure on politicians and investors alike.’
“Having just resolved issues arising from a court case by activists opposed to the Carmichael mine, this new court case has been launched by another group of activists again threatening to delay creation of new jobs for families in regional Queensland.
“Activist litigation is on the increase. Our environmental laws mean that well-financed activist groups get a bigger voice than ordinary Australians who actually live near coalmines and want the benefits of their development.
“They can impose their strategy to disrupt and delay development projects and disrupt and delay creation of new jobs. I support changing the rules to reduce their ability to employ ‘guerrilla lawfare’ tactics to derail vital job creation projects.”