Burke must intervene on “diabolical” Rinehart mine approval

Press release - 29 May, 2012
Sydney 30th May 2012: Greenpeace has slammed the Queensland State Government’s green light to Gina Rinehart’s massive Alpha coal project as politically motivated rush job with the Co-ordinator General’s report revealing gaping holes in the environmental assessment. Tony Burke must refuse to review the project under the EPBC Act until a rigorous assessment has been done by the Co-ordinator General.

“This is a serious failure of the regulatory process,” Greenpeace campaigner, John Hepburn said. “When Tony Burke described this process as “diabolical” he was not over stating things. It is imperative that Mr Burke step in and clean up this mess,” Hepburn continued.

“This project is nowhere near ready for State level approval let alone Federal approval. Tony Burke needs to reassure the Australian community he will not even begin a Federal environmental review until the Co-coordinator General goes back and does the assessment properly”, said Hepburn.

“The Co-ordinator Generals report reveals gaping holes in environmental assessment that have been skipped over in order to rush this approval out the door. The report doesn’t even model cumulative groundwater impacts; they haven’t even done a biodiversity survey of all of the rail line, and the flood modelling of the rail line seriously inadequate.”

Some of the obvious problems with the Co-ordinator General’s assessment include

  • The cumulative impacts of Galilee Basin mining on groundwater quality and availability are not understood and have not even been modelled (page 282).
  • The environmental impacts of the rail line are not known. The proponent has not even conducted a complete biodiversity field survey of the proposed rail line route (page 353)
  • The flood modelling conducted by the proponent is not even able to replicate historical data. It can’t even accurately match historical flooding, but has been considered adequate to allow approval of a rail line which has the potential to massively disrupt flood flows (Page 353).

“No doubt Gina Rinehart wants this project to be rubber stamped as fast as possible, but Deputy Premier Jeff Seeny can’t just ignore the environment in his rush to approve her project. He has responsibilities under law,” Hepburn concluded.

For further comment contact

Greenpeace Campaigner, John Hepburn: 0407 231 172

Greenpeace Media Officer, Julie Macken: 0400 925 217

The Co-ordinator General’s report can be found online here: http://www.deedi.qld.gov.au/cg/alpha-coal-project.html