Wednesday, 28 November 2018
Coalmines in the Galilee Basin
That the Senate—
(i) that MacMines Austasia 20,000-hectare China Stone thermal coal project in the Galilee Basin is one step closer to approval,
(ii) that this mine is expected to export 38 million tonnes of coal annually,
(iii) that this single Galilee Basin project is estimated to produce 128.4 metric tonnes of CO2 per year, which is equivalent to 23% of Australia's total domestic emissions in 2017, or about ten years' worth of Australia's domestic emissions over the lifetime of the mine,
(iv) that, this week, large parts of north and far north Queensland are in a severe heatwave with indication that the heatwave will spread west to the Northern Territory border,
(v) that temperature records for many Queensland towns have been broken,
(vi) that about 1500 people have been displaced, up to 600 evacuated and at least four houses lost, as unprecedented bushfires continue to burn in the Deepwater National Park region, south of Gladstone,
(vii) the emotional trauma and financial hardship that these sorts of extreme weather events can inflict on our communities,
(viii) that the work of emergency services and volunteers is to be commended,
(ix) that the Galilee Basin has 9 mega coal mines proposed, including the Adani Carmichael mine, China Stone mine, Alpha Coal Project, Kevin's Corner Project, Degulla Coal, Alpha West, Alpha North, Galilee (China First) Coal Project and South Galilee Coal Mine,
(x) that there is undeniable evidence that CO2 emissions are driving dangerous global warming which is causing extreme weather conditions unlike any we have ever seen before, and
(xi) that unless we take urgent action to stop global warming, bushfires, flooding, drought, heat waves will become more frequent and increasingly severe; and
(b) calls on the Minister for the Environment to:
(i) urgently take proactive measures against global warming,
(ii) refuse federal environmental approval for MacMines' China Stone thermal coal mine, and
(iii) not approve any coal mines in the Galilee Basin.
The Liberal-Nationals government has a comprehensive suite of policies to address climate change. The China Stone coalmine is subject to a detailed environmental impact assessment in accordance with the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999. As with all projects, the government will make a decision about whether or not to approve the mine after considering the detailed assessment.
Labor does not support this motion. We are the only party with a consistent, comprehensive and credible policy to take serious action on climate change. Labor's policy is focused on creating a clean energy economy as well as taking an active and constructive approach to international efforts to cut carbon pollution. Our policies are based on meeting a 45 per cent whole-of-economy emissions reduction target and achieving zero net emissions by 2050, in line with the Climate Change Authority's advice on Australia's fair-share contribution to keep warming below two degrees and in line with UN and International Energy Agency advice on what is needed to meet Paris accords. In regard to the mine approval, Labor stated yesterday that we believe that the early advice from the independent expert scientific committee needs to be updated to consider impacts on groundwater and water systems as well as the cumulative water-related impact of the proposal in the context of past, present and reasonably foreseeable actions. Labor is committed to action on climate change and environmental protection.