Thursday, 17 July 2014
Abbot Point; Order for the Production of Documents
(1) That there be laid on the table by the Minister representing the Minister for the Environment, no later than noon on 26 August 2014, any document in relation to the water quality offset imposed on the Abbot Point dredging and dumping approvals in December 2013 that discusses or assesses:
(a) the likely costs of offsetting 150 per cent of fine sediments 'potentially available for resuspension';
(b) the contributions of North Queensland Bulk Ports, Adani or GVK to accomplishing this offset; and
(c) contributions from the Queensland or Federal governments to accomplishing this offset.
(2) Documents previously released publicly pursuant to freedom of information or Senate orders for production of documents need not be included.
The motion relates to documents on offsets for the Abbot Point coal port approval. The question of offsets for this approval is a matter currently before the Federal Court and proceedings commenced by Mackay Conservation Group. This is the second motion in relation to the Abbot Point proceedings that this chamber has considered this year. The Federal Court has appropriate processes and procedures relating to the disclosure and use of documentation. The rights of the parties, being not only the Commonwealth but also commercial entities like NQBP, Adani and GVK, are protected through these processes and procedures.
I will clarify for the benefit of Senator Fifield that the matters before the court are not in conflict with the subject of this order for production of documents. The order relates specifically to whether or not the government will be contributing to costs of the proponents complying with an offset condition, which many believe is ludicrous and impossible—but that is beside the point. There is no conflict on that particular point between that and what is before the courts. I would urge the senator to support the motion.