Clive Palmer coal plans face human rights challenge
The Environmental Defenders Office said the case – brought by activist group Youth Verdict – was the first time an Australian coal mine had been challenged on that basis.
It said Youth Verdict represented Indigenous and non-Indigenous young people whose lives would be severely impacted by climate change.
Youth Verdict joins the Bimblebox Alliance in opposition to Waratah Coal’s proposed mine.
Both groups object to the Mining Lease and Environmental Authority for the Galilee Coal Project with the Land Court of Queensland.
Waratah Coal reactivated the mining lease application for its 40Mtpa Galilee Coal Project, north of Alpha, late last year.
It comprises four underground coal mines, two open-cut coal mines and a 453km railway line in central Queensland.
Youth Verdict will argue the mine will infringe upon six human rights: the rights of the child; the right to life; the right to be free from discrimination; the cultural rights of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples; the right to property; and the right to privacy.
Queensland Resources Council chief executive Ian Macfarlane described the challenge as ‘a novel attempt by a minority group of young activists to use the court system to delay and/or prevent economic development in Queensland and jobs for Queenslanders during these challenging times’.
EDO chief executive officer David Morris said EDO’s clients were using the Queensland Human Rights Act, exactly as it was intended to be used – to allow Queenslanders to stand up for their human rights.
Decisions to open new coal mines today unfairly burdened the next generations, he said.
“They have the right to a safe and healthy future and to be able to make genuine choices about their lives. Climate change limits those choices,” he said.
The Bimblebox Alliance is concerned about the impact of mining on the Bimblebox Nature Refuge – a woodland area of almost 8000ha that was bought in 2000 to save it from land clearing.
“We’re angry that Waratah Coal wants to build his mine and destroy this precious nature refuge we have spent 20 years working hard to create,” alliance president Paola Cassoni said. “The world cannot afford another climate wrecking coal mine.”