COAL mining would be banned in Queensland’s Galilee Basin under legislation to be introduced today by State Greens MP Michael Berkman.
Mr Berkman last night insisted it was “time to hit the climate emergency button” after new warnings that catastrophic climate change was unavoidable unless coal-fired electricity was all but eradicated.
While the bill has no chance of success, Labor MPs covertly opposed to Adani’s controversial Carmichael mega-mine could be forced to publicly back development in the Galilee Basin.
The legislation’s introduction comes two years to the day until Queensland’s next election and after the Adani mine issue played such a controversial role during the last state poll.
Rampant opposition to the mine, particularly in inner-city Brisbane seats, is credited for the election of Mr Berkman, who became the first Greens candidate to win a state seat in Queensland.
The Galilee Basin, a 250,000 square kilometre zone in central Queensland, is considered one of the world’s great untapped coal reserves and there are multiple proposals for mines in the area.
The explanatory notes for the Mining Resources Amendment Bill state it would ban new and existing Galilee Basin mining leases and amend leases to exclude land within the zone.
It would also prohibit miners from seeking compensation.
The bill states the ban was necessary to meet Australia’s international emissions obligations because a new Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change Special Report had warned that coal-fired electricity generation needed to fall to less than two per cent of global supply by 2050.
Mr Berkman told The Courier-Mail that Adani and other proposed Galilee Basin mines would run beyond 2080, putting homes, farms, forests and reefs in danger.
“Existing thermal coal mines and power stations must be phased out in coming years, but new mines in the Galilee Basin are a dangerous dead end, and now is the time to rule them out,” he said.
Mr Berkman accused Labor and the LNP of protecting vested interest and shirking the tough choices required to tackle climate change.
“Labor and the LNP are pushing coal because they would rather protect the profits of a few big polluters than break with the status quo,” he said.