Campaigners said mine-affected water could flow into Queensland’s largest fish habitat, north of Rockhampton.
Campaigners said mine-affected water could flow into Queensland’s largest fish habitat, north of Rockhampton.

Reef campaigners decry decision to move CQ mine forward

Great Barrier Reef campaigners are urging government officials not to greenlight Clive Palmer’s proposed Central Queensland Coal mine after Queensland’s environment department announced on Friday it was allowing the plan to move to the next stage of assessments.

The Department of Environment and Science now has 40 business days to prepare a report about the suitability of the project.

A report from the Independent Expert Scientific Committee on Coal Seam Gas and Large Coal Mining Development found the mine poses significant risks to surrounding reef ecosystems with no way to offset the damage from mine-polluted water.

Capricorn Conservation Council said it was “extremely disappointed” by the State Government’s decision.

Coordinator Dr Coral Rowston said: “With big government, business and industry all setting targets for reduced emissions, we don’t need another coal mine.

“We certainly don’t need developments that threaten the Great Barrier Reef and the Broadsound Wetlands and Broadsound Fish Habitat Area.

“Central Queensland needs to embrace the future and look to invest in the lucrative renewables market, not to create another emission producing mine.”

Dr Rowston said the results of the IESC report were “frightening”, and the government should have listened to the advice of scientists.

She called it a “kick in the teeth” for all the landholders making sure that they are not polluting the waterways in Great Barrier Reef catchments.

“The IECS are saying that there are no feasible mitigation measures that could safeguard these irreplaceable and internationally significant ecological assets,” Dr Rowston said.

“It is hypocritical for the State Government to say we should be listening to the experts when it comes to COVID-19, but ignoring the experts when it comes to saying no to a coal mine that we don’t need, which is contrary to the direction the rest of the world is heading in relation to emission reductions.

“Our reef and wetlands and the services they provide will suffer with additional sediment and


Australian Marine Conservation Society Great Barrier Reef campaigner David Cazzulino said the new open cut coal mine, situated just 10km from the World Heritage Reef, would be disastrous because mine-affected water could flow into Queensland’s largest fish habitat at Broad Sound, north of Rockhampton.

“Not only will this mine contribute to the global heating that causes damaging coral bleaching on our Reef, but scientists warn it could also cause irreversible damage to inshore areas of the Great Barrier Reef due to the dirty, polluted waters that may flow from it,” he said.

“For the future of the Great Barrier Reef and all the communities and marine life it sustains, this project must be rejected.

“The project would generate 10 million tonnes of coal each year, the same annual output as planned for Adani’s Carmichael mine.

“It’s a no-brainer – the Queensland Government should not green light this polluting coal mine. Instead they should focus on clean energy projects that will create jobs without harming our Reef, the communities and wildlife that depend on it.

“The Department now has the opportunity to follow their own expert scientific advice and reject this dangerous coal project after the IESC said there were no ‘feasible mitigation measures, including offsets that could safeguard these irreplaceable and internationally significant ecological assets’.”

The Broad Sound Fish Habitat Area is located around 10km downstream of the proposed site of the mine.

Mr Cazzulino said other environments near the site that may be affected by the project include Tooloombah Creek, Deep Creek, the Styx River estuary, and two state-listed wetlands, adding that rivers, creeks and inshore areas were particularly important to commercial fishers, with large catches of barramundi, king threadfin and mud crabs being taken from the region.

He said that the Broad Sound region was also in the middle of two important areas for the southern Great Barrier Reef population of dugongs (Shoalwater Bay and Clairview) and could be an important part of a migratory route for these threatened species.