Environment Minister Greg Hunt has blamed a “technicality”, as well as litigious environmental groups, for his decision to revoke the approval for Adani’s Carmichael coal mine and rail project in northern Queensland.
In fact, the “technicality” was Hunt’s own failure to consider evidence on the project’s impact on endangered species, which he was required by law to consider — and Hunt withdrew the approval before a court could strike it down.
The minister now has an opportunity fix the problems of his first decision and adequately consider the evidence in relation to the project, not merely rubber-stamp it, as he appears inclined to do.
We now know that the project will create far fewer jobs than Hunt originally claimed. We know that, at current and projected coal prices, the project isn’t commercially viable. And we know from court submissions that the economic case for the mine relied on selective use of benefits in foreign markets without including costs in those markets — particularly the impact on carbon emissions of adding millions of tonnes of coal to the world’s energy mix.
The Abbott government’s coal fetish is understandable: Australia’s resources sector is a generous donor to the Coalition, and mining companies expect a return on their investment. But the government’s enthusiasm for this project flies in the face of all we know about Adani and its plans for Carmichael.
Greg Hunt should do his job as Environment Minister and shut this project down for good.