Adani is fighting the Queensland Environment Department, rather than pay a $12,000 fine for polluting the Great Barrier Reef – a breach the mining giant reported itself.
The Mackay Conservation group is calling for Adani to instead start engineering works on its Abbot Point port facility in North Queensland to make sure it doesn’t happen again.
“The Queensland government has granted Adani free, unlimited water, it has amended water laws to stop objections by farmers and granted Adani a secret royalties deal,” says Mackay Conservation Group coordinator, Peter McCallum – who visited Abbot Point with department officials in April to inspect the pollution.
McCallum claims Adani is being given privileged treatment by the Queensland government, a prime example being this $12,000 “slap on the wrist”.
Adani admitted to the Queensland Department of Environment and Heritage Protection that it released more than eight times its licenced concentration of pollution in March.
“Rather than considering challenging the measly $12,000 fine for polluting the Great Barrier Reef coast Adani should begin work immediately to secure its coal terminal from storms and cyclones to avoid repeat pollution of the Reef coast and the Caley Valley Wetlands,” McCallum says.
“The Department handed Adani a license to pollute before Cyclone Debbie hit which placed no limit on the volume of polluted water Adani could let flow into the wetlands.”
A day later this license was retrospectively amended to protect Adani from liability for releasing coal polluted water at several other locations including the sea, McCallum claims.
“It took over a week for the Department of the Environment to begin even the most basic survey and five months later we still have no report on the pollution of the Caley Valley wetlands,” says McCallum, who visited the site with Department officials a month after the Cyclone, and there was still coal present in the Caley Valley wetlands.
“We saw sediments which appear to be laden with coal within the wetlands adjacent to Adani’s storm water system outlet,” Mccallum says.
Mccallum says that with Adani’s environmental record overseas, and this incident, it can’t be trusted to construct a new coal terminal, build a massive coal mine or ship its coal out through the Great Barrier Reef.
Mackay Conservation Group exposed aerial photography of Adani’s pollution of the Caley Valley wetlands in April which led to the company admitting to releasing 806mg/L of coal and other pollutants from its port at Abbot Point.