Media Release Great Barrier Reef

Historic win for Reef: Federal Govt rejects risky coal mine

February 8, 2023
  • First coal mine rejected by the Australian Government after federal assessment; should be first step in rejecting new fossil fuel projects 

Federal Environment Minister Tanya Plibersek’s historic decision to reject the Clive Palmer-owned risky Central Queensland Coal mine is a victory for everybody who loves the Great Barrier Reef, the Australian Marine Conservation Society (AMCS) said today.

The proposed Central Queensland Coal mine, located 10km from the Great Barrier Reef World Heritage Area, would have been a massive threat to the Reef, with independent scientific modelling showing that sediment from the mine may have increased water pollution and threatened turtle and dugong strongholds. The Queensland Government recommended that the project was “not suitable to proceed” and federal-appointed scientists said they could not envisage mitigation measures that could safeguard the nearby environments.

AMCS Senior Great Barrier Reef Campaigner Cherry Muddle said: “Environment Minister Tanya Plibersek has shown leadership by listening to the scientists and the community and rejecting this risky project. This is the right decision for the Great Barrier Reef, the marine wildlife that call Broad Sound home and the communities that depend on a healthy Reef for their livelihoods. We all have a duty of care to protect this natural wonder and global icon.

“This is the first time the Australian Government has rejected a coal mine after federal assessment and should be the first step in rejecting new fossil fuel projects. The International Energy Agency has said we cannot start any new fossil fuel projects if we are to keep global warming to 1.5oC – a critical threshold for the survival of coral reefs.

“Fossil fuels drive global warming, which is the greatest threat to our Reef, powering the marine heatwaves that cause coral bleaching, with the Reef suffering four mass bleaching events since 2016.

“Australia and Queensland need to embrace the massive economic and job opportunities in renewable energy. We have some of the best and most abundant renewable energy resources in the world and can become a renewable energy superpower, powering the industries of the future.”