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Adani Accused Of Failing To Submit Rail Plans

The Queensland Premier is calling on Adani to submit outstanding plans relating to its Carmichael coal mine.

Annastacia Palaszczuk has written to the Indian mining giant, urging it to submit plans for a rail corridor to get coal from the proposed central Queensland mine to the coast for export.

Adani is waiting on the State Government to sign off on two environmental management plans before it can start building the mine.

Earlier this week, Federal Environment Minister Melissa Price granted approval for Adani's groundwater management plan.

CSIRO and Geoscience Australia had confirmed the company's revised plans met strict scientific requirements.

Minister Price said in a statement that CSIRO and Geoscience Australia have independently assessed the groundwater management plans for the Carmichael Coal Mine and Rail Infrastructure project.

Following this independent assessment and the Department of Environment and Energy’s recommendation for approval, I have accepted the scientific advice and therefore approved the groundwater management plans for the Carmichael Coal Mine and Rail Infrastructure project under Environmental Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999.

This decision does not comprise the final approval for this project.

The Project now requires further approvals from the Queensland Government prior to construction commencing. To date, only 16 of 25 environmental plans have been finalised or approved by the Commonwealth and Queensland Governments with a further 9 to be finalised.

It must meet further stringent conditions of approval from the Commonwealth before it can begin producing coal.

This project has been subject to the most rigorous approval process of any mining project in Australia.

Queensland Environment Minister Leeanne Enoch said in a statement, "I am very concerned that Barnaby Joyce’s and Matt Canavan’s political campaign reeks of political interference, and may have compromised the integrity of the decision making process".

"After a month of multiple requests, the Queensland Government received the CSIRO and GeoScience Australia report less than 30 minutes before the Federal Minister’s announcement.

"Adani has also, just today [Tuesday], provided DES with their latest version of the Groundwater Dependent Ecosystem Management Plan (GDEMP).

"The GDEMP will be considered against Queensland’s own environmental conditions.

"Queensland decisions will be made by the environmental regulator, free from political interference.

"Based on the CSIRO and GeoScience Australia report, initial advice from DES is that a number of uncertainties remain. This includes whether the GDEMP definitively identifies the source aquifers of the Doongmabulla Springs Complex, which has always been a requirement for state approval.

"I also note Minister Price’s statement that the project must meet further stringent conditions of approval from the Commonwealth before it can begin producing coal.

Minister Enoch also said that "Under the Palaszczuk Government, resources companies have committed to more than $20 billion worth of mining projects in Queensland".

CEO of Adani Mining, Mr Lucas Dow has responded saying “To say the Queensland Government is not interfering in approvals processes for the Carmichael Project is farcical, considering letters from the Premier’s office have been leaked to ABC today whilst the Premier is overseas, ironically to secure international investment and develop export opportunities.

“We have repeatedly stated what is required to get started on construction of the mine, which is sign-off on the Black-Throated Finch Management Plan and the Groundwater Dependent Ecosystem Management Plan.

Other management plans and approvals processes can come later, in line with standard processes for getting a mine and rail project up and running. It’s time for the Queensland Premier and Deputy Premier to come clean and stop the delaying and political tactics.

“All we’ve ever asked for is a fair go and to be treated like any other mining company, yet this is far from what we’ve experienced.

“The Black-Throated Finch Management Plan has been sitting with the Queensland Government for more than 18 months, with seven versions having been provided all of which have incorporated State Department feedback and input. This plan has also been subject to an eleventh hour, so called “independent” review led by an individual who heads up an organisation whose members have publicly stated anti-mining, anti-coal agendas.

“The Groundwater Dependent Ecosystem Management Plan has been under review by the Queensland Government for more than two years now and they are currently looking at the 11th version. To suggest they are being pushed into a decision without enough time for review is just another political ploy and distraction to avoid making a decision. The Queensland Government continues to refuse providing certainty of process and timing.

“It’s time once and for all for the Queensland Government to stop shifting the goal posts on Adani in order to do the Labor Party’s bidding. This Labor government is putting the jobs and livelihoods of Queenslanders at risk.

“We need clarity of timing and process as to when the Queensland Government will finalise their decisions on the two outstanding management plans. They have everything they need to make a decision. It’s time for them to get the job done so that we can deliver thousands of jobs for regional Queensland.”

By Michelle Price