Crackdown on activist lawsuits could aid Shenhua mine

17 Aug, 2015 05:18 AM
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No government...can sit idly by and let people do that,
File photo

ATTORNEY-GENERAL George Brandis has said he will change the law to make it harder for green activists to use the courts to slow resource developments.

If he is successful it could make it harder for activists to oppose a range of projects including Chinese coalminer Shenhua's proposed mine at Mount Watermark, near the rich farmlands of the Namoi catchment in NSW, which the federal government approved last month.

Senator Brandis's remarks come just over a week after a federal court ruled in favour of the Mackay Conservation Group and the NSW Environmental Defenders' Office and suspended commonwealth approval for Indian energy group Adani to build the giant Carmichael mine in central Queensland.

The senator told Sky News on Sunday that such actions were a threat to Queensland's economy at a time when it was struggling, and "extremely loose language" in the former Labor government's Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act laid down a "red carpet for vigilante litigation". "The people who challenged this are people who are determined to wipe out Queensland's biggest industry - the coal industry - and no government...can sit idly by and let people do that," Senator Brandis said.

"I think the Adani case has shown why it's very important that the courts not be used as a forum for vigilante litigation by people whose aim is to game the system, who have no legitimate interest other than to prosecute a political vendetta against development and bring massive developments, on which in this case some 2600 jobs depended, to a standstill."

But environmental activists described Senator Brandis as being un-Australian.

"It's amazing that the moment a mining project is found to be breaking the law, they simply refer to it as being tied up in red tape," said Tim Duddy, a cattle, grain and cotton farmer 85 kilometres south-west of Tamworth on the Liverpool Plains in NSW.

"The federal environmental laws are written to protect nationally important environmental assets. If any government is delusional enough to believe that protecting those assets is abusing process they are not very good representatives of the Commonwealth or indeed anything that we stand for as Australians."

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17/08/2015 6:37:06 AM

"No government can idly sit by and let people do that" With words like these the libs wonder why they are languishing in the polls. Sounding more and more like a 3rd world crackpot dictatorship.
17/08/2015 8:56:42 AM

Brandis is either a fool or fibbing. Coal is NOT Queensland biggest industry - only 4% of revenue (the govt gets more from interest on deposits than that), and only 1% of other words 96% of Queensland's income is NOT FROM COAL and 99% of workers are NOT EMPLOYED IN COAL.
17/08/2015 9:24:16 AM

Albro, your figures are correct but the most damning figure is the size of political donations given to the Nationals and the Liberals by the coal industry. Brandis plays their tune to the detriment of other viable agricultural enterprises. But it won't continue as market forces will overcome coal as a commodity much sooner than anticipated. The banks will not finance these new mines.
Peter Comensoli
17/08/2015 10:58:14 AM

Senator, not just the Federal Court but the Commonwealth Bank too. Are you also going to change the law so the CBA will find it harder to withdraw funds from stale mining projects? Will you make sure that same law makes the rest of us pay the risk margin of the banks on these projects? Why not let the Government in Delhi decide our laws? Just at the moment I think it's only the long history of ALP ineptitude in the bush and fear of the Greens' red agenda that keeps regional Australia voting Conservative.
thats right
17/08/2015 11:25:16 AM

Hello Mr Brandis, have you heard of the word DEMOCRACY. Australia once had a democratic system where people can voice and lodge their objections. Now it appears we are becoming more and more a Communist State Country. Hey all you people - You will do as I say and bugger the consequences to both the people and the country. We are in desperate need of an alternative Political Party that will listen to the people. Do you have a job with Shenhua after your political career is RS?
Sir Les P
17/08/2015 1:30:50 PM

Being an LNP member & the exact opposite of a Greenie does any of these projects ever get knocked on the head before they get off the ground. This project & the Galilee Basin are only 30 year lifespans & good land is gone forever. These are supposed to be community benefit projects so the community should have there say on them. Obviously Mr Hunt hasn't done his job properly. George, you're going down the same track as Newman & Seeney,George stop thinking about money.
17/08/2015 1:59:54 PM

usual ignorant twits having their nothing's worth. the standard of comment and ignorance and contrarian view of sensible development and economics giving way to the rabble and mob. If they get their way, Australia will go down the drain faster than the speed of their swill.
17/08/2015 3:53:51 PM

Well now Mr. George Brandis you would be breaking the law of the people of Australia if you modify laws that have been carefully considered to protect the rights of Australian freehold land owners. Lets remember the Land Court Magistrate found the miners had "NOT COMPLIED" with the current laws of the land and you and your Govt. should be satisfied with that !!!
Sir Les P
17/08/2015 3:56:31 PM

I think George is more worried about donations to the Liberals/ George needs to ask Newman & Seeney what can happen in elections. George the bottom line is the land will there forever instead for 30 year gain at what cost. Besides that before an approval is given they should prove beyond doubt that they have the cabbage to be able to fund these projects, unlike Adani.
18/08/2015 4:26:46 AM

This Government is incompetent
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