Today’s Federal Court ruling that new thermal coal mining projects can proceed under Australian environmental law is deeply disappointing. Now, more than ever, we need a legislated Duty of Care.
In May, the Environment Council of Central Queensland (ECoCQ) took the Environment Minister to court, arguing that Plibersek’s failure to protect “living wonders” such as the Great Barrier Reef by refusing to assess climate harm when approving two proposed thermal coal mines in NSW, is unlawful.
Today’s ruling opens the door for the Albanese government to approve two massive new thermal coal mining projects in NSW: MACH energy’s Mount Pleasant coal mine expansion and Whitehaven coal’s Narrabri coal mine expansion. It will also pave the way for the approval of more than twenty new coal and gas projects still sitting on Minister Plibersek’s desk.
This ruling makes painfully clear the enormous gaps in Australian environmental law. The case for its overhaul has never been more urgent.