Greens MP Michael Berkman has slammed the “sick irony” of Labor State Government’s water licence approval for New Hope Group's New Acland thermal coal mine expansion, saying the proponent should expect further legal challenges.
Prior to entering politics, Berkman represented farmers opposing the mine expansion as a public interest environmental lawyer.
“The Labor State Government has just proven themselves cowardly hypocrites who care more about politics than Queensland’s farmers or our climate.
“The Government’s new Energy and Jobs Plan means squat if they keep approving new coal and gas.
“To meet our obligations under the Paris agreement, to limit warming to 1.5 degrees or even 2 degrees, we cannot approve any new coal or gas projects. This is a decision that plainly denies the science of climate change.
“Every one of Labor’s new coal and gas approvals is another nail in the climate coffin.
“There is a sick irony in the fact that Queensland Labor has just approved new thermal coal mining in one of those communities bracing for more climate change-driven floods this week.
“The New Acland expansion is a crazy and destructive project that will trash some of Qld's best cropping land, ruin groundwater and contribute to dangerous climate change.
“It won’t even add anything substantial to the state coffers, because the New Acland Coal mine is almost completely exempt from paying royalties!
“New Hope and their cheerleaders in the media and major parties should be prepared for locals to challenge this decision in the courts for the unacceptable impacts it’ll have on groundwater.”