Teens take Adani fight to the top

Two North Queensland teenagers will today present the federal government with new expert ­evidence and "strong" legal grounds to revoke the approval of Adani's controversial Carmichael coal mine.

Lawyers at Environmental Justice Australia, acting for teens Brooklyn O'Hearn of Townsville and Claire Galvin of Cairns, will provide three independent expert reports to Environment Minister Sussan Ley in hopes she will use her discretionary powers under the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Act to revoke the mine's environmental approval.

Climate scientist Bill Hare, from Murdoch University, financial analyst Tim Buckley, from the Institute of Energy Economics and Financial Analysis, and economist Paul Burke, from the Australian National University, have provided evidence for the claim.

In a joint statement, Miss O'Hearn, 17, and Ms Galvin, 19, said they had grown up watching the Great Barrier Reef suffer numerous climate change-fuelled mass coral bleaching events.

"We know that if Adani's giant Carmichael coal mine goes ahead, it will lock in decades of carbon emissions and our magnificent reef will suffer," they said in a statement.

Brooklyn O’Hearn and Claire Glavin
Brooklyn O’Hearn and Claire Glavin

"Our North Queensland communities rely on a healthy reef to survive. We are deeply concerned about the devastating impacts climate change is having on the reef, the communities whose businesses and jobs rely on it, and future generations who may never get a chance to enjoy a healthy reef.

"We have friends who work in tourism and on dive boats. The impacts from burning coal from the three mines will hit the tourism and hospitality industries hard. If this mine goes ahead reef-reliant communities like Cairns will struggle to recover with frequent coral bleaching, especially with the additional impacts of the coronavirus pandemic.

"The federal government has an obligation to protect our magnificent Great Barrier Reef for future generations under Australia's national environment law. We are giving Environment Minister ­Sussan Ley an opportunity to be on the right side of history and revoke approval of Adani's mine.

"We ask minister Ley to consider the expert evidence we have provided and revoke approval of Adani's Carmichael coal mine to protect the Great Barrier Reef and the communities who rely on it."

Brooklyn O’Hearn and Claire Glavin .
Brooklyn O’Hearn and Claire Glavin .

Environmental Justice Australia senior lawyer Ariane Wilkinson said the evidence demonstrated Adani's mine would increase global warming and cause significant damage to the Great Barrier Reef.

"Had this evidence been considered at the time Adani's Carmichael coal mine was approved in 2015, the grounds for approval stated by former minister Greg Hunt would not have been feasible," Ms Wilkinson said.

"In considering this new evidence minister Ley must take into account both the precautionary principle and the principle of intergenerational equity - she should revoke approval of Adani's mine to prevent serious and irreversible harm to the reef and ensure that the health, diversity and productivity of the reef, and the communities who rely on it, is maintained for the benefit of future generations."

Originally published as Teens take Adani fight to the top


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