Conservationists and supporters of the Great Barrier Reef have gathered in Brisbane to add their voices to growing calls for the Queensland Government to reject the Clive Palmer-owned Central Queensland Coal Mine.
If it is allowed to go ahead, the project would create a mine only 10km from the Reef, protesters say. This would threaten the Reef and important fish, turtle and dugong habitats. They believe it would also fuel dangerous climate change.
The Queensland Department of Environment and Science has until April 28 to decide whether the proposed mine is a suitable development or not.
“Ahead of that deadline, Australian Marine Conservation Society supporters and Reef community members want the Queensland Government and Department to hear their opposition to the proposal, loud and clear,” the society said in a statement.
Proposal ‘makes no sense’ for many reasons
Addressing a rally outside Parliament House in Brisbane yesterday (Wednesday), Dr Lissa Schindler, Great Barrier Reef campaign manager at AMCS, said a coal mine 10km from the Reef made no sense for many reasons.
“It should be rejected on climate grounds alone, especially in the light of recent science-led reports calling for rapid emissions reductions,” she told the crowd.
“The government-appointed Independent Expert Scientific Committee has also warned of significant and irreversible damage from mine-affected water from this development to inshore Reef ecosystems – including Queensland’s largest fish habitat at Broad Sound, north of Rockhampton.
“So we would urge politicians to use their heads and just scrap this polluting mine proposal right now.”
Another speaker was Lulu Arraiza, lead organiser for School Striker 4 Climate Action in Cairns, who urged the Queensland Government to reject the mine.
Reef already being impacted by climate change
“Growing up in Cairns on the Great Barrier Reef coast, I’ve already seen the impacts of climate change on the Reef,” she said. We know mining and burning coal is causing climate change. We know coal is warming the oceans and destroying coral.
“Not only will this mine fuel climate change but it is only 10km from the Great Barrier Reef coast and will directly harm precious Reef ecosystems and other marine habitats.”
The Central Queensland Coal mine proposal, previously named the Styx coal project, was first suggested almost 10 years ago.
“In 2020, the Federal Government’s Independent Expert Scientific Committee handed down a damning assessment of the project, saying it threatened significant and irreversible damage to internationally valued ecosystems subjected to mine-affected water amongst other serious impacts,” the Australian Marine Conservation Society said in its statement.