Wednesday, 11 November 2015
That the Senate—
(i) the importance of a robust and clear legal system that allows for timely judicial review and certainty for investors and the community alike,
(ii) that the latest legal challenge brought by the Melbourne-based Australian Conservation Foundation to the development of the Galilee Basin is another cynical attempt to abuse due process,
(iii) that ongoing green law-fare is holding Queensland families to ransom, and jeopardising Australia's reputation as a place to do business, and
(iv) that rather than protecting the environment, the replacement of the Galilee Basin's lower-emission coal by higher-emission coal from other countries could instead cause an increase in global emissions; and
(b) calls on the Australian Labor Party to support legislative amendments to close legal loopholes being exploited by green groups.
This is another embarrassing attempt by Senator Canavan, who seems to have neglected to realise that Minister Hunt has made yet another error in applying the environmental laws that he, as the environment minister, really should be better familiar with. He is now seeking to demonise mums and dads, community members and, in this instance, the Australian Conservation Foundation. It has stood up, gone to the court and said, 'Actually, the minister really shouldn't forget about the climate change impacts on the Great Barrier Reef when he is approving the Southern Hemisphere's largest coal mine.' I am really thrilled and pleased that the ACF has taken this stance. Senator Canavan's notion seems to be that you are only allowed to care about the Great Barrier Reef if you live next door to it. Well, I have news for him: Australians are very proud of our Great Barrier Reef and the 60,000 jobs that it provides, and they want laws to protect it upheld and not ignored by the minister at the behest of the mining industry.
In the time I have available, rather than speak from my own point of view and potentially misrepresent some of the mums and dads, as Senator Waters just mentioned, I might just read a comment from a mum and dad, Carolyn and George Plaisted, who emailed me today. They said, 'Hello Matt. We live in the Galilee Basin and are thoroughly sick of the court hold-ups pertaining to the mines in our area. GVK Hancock have had years of litigation to deal with what has held up the commencement of their mines. The small communities are in limbo. We certainly believe in the right for people to have their say, but for the challenges to be ongoing for years is totally ridiculous. The local figurehead for one of the groups objecting does not even have property in GVK's tenement. Hopefully, both state and federal governments can put a halt to this continuing misuse of our courts, and the development of jobs can begin to become a reality.'
This motion is about these people. It is about supporting people like Carolyn and George Plaisted in their communities to help them get ahead and to have jobs and development, like the opportunities that all of us in this place have.