17 June, 2021
Entsch opposes Palmer coal project
GREAT Barrier Reef special envoy and member for Leichhardt Warren Entsch has voiced his opposition to the Clive Palmer-owned Central Queensland Coal project.
In a letter handed to conservation campaigners who visited his office on June 10, Mr Entsch said he had written to Federal Environment Minister Sussan Ley to express his “very strong opposition” to the project.
“In my view it is entirely inappropriate for the mine to proceed, particularly given its proximity to the Great Barrier Reef,” wrote Mr Entsch.
The proposed open-cut coal mine would be about 130 kilometres north-west of Rockhampton, and just 10 kilometres from the wetlands that feed into the Great Barrier Reef World Heritage Area.
The mine was deemed ‘not suitable to proceed’ by the Queensland government because of ‘unacceptable risks’ to the Great Barrier Reef and surrounding environments, however, Minister Ley is to announce her decision about the mine in July.
“I expect that through her relatively quick deliberations, Minister Ley will also come to the same conclusions that this mine should not proceed,” wrote Mr Entsch.
Australian Marine Conservation Society Great Barrier Reef Cairns campaigner Garrett Swearingen, to whom Mr Entsch addressed his letter, welcomed the MP’s public opposition to the CQC project and thanked him for expressing his concerns to Minister Ley.
“We’re glad to see Mr Entsch as the Reef special envoy opposing projects which would increase global heating and pollution, both unacceptable threats to our Reef,” he said.
“There is too much at risk to allow CQC to build and operate an open cut coal mine so close to the Reef World Heritage Area.
“Situated immediately downstream from the proposed mine, Broad Sound and surrounds is an area rich in marine life used by protected migratory species like the flatback turtle and the dugong, as well as species important for recreational and commercial fishing like barramundi and mud crabs.
“Important habitats like seagrasses, salt marshes and mangroves are also found there, acting as vital habitat for threatened species as well as drawing down carbon.
“The Queensland Government’s EIS assessment released in late April was correct in saying the mine is ‘not suitable to proceed’ on environmental grounds.
“It also backs the conclusions of expert scientists appointed by the Federal Government who warned earlier this year they could not envisage any mitigation measures by CQC that could safeguard nearby environments.”