Great Barrier Reef special envoy and Leichhardt federal MP Warren Entsch has come out strongly against the Clive Palmer-owned Central Queensland Coal project planned for just 10km from the Great Barrier Reef World Heritage Area.
In a letter handed to supporters of the Australian Marine Conservation Society’s action against the mine outside his electoral office in Cairns on 10 June, Mr Entsch said he had expressed his ‘very strong opposition to the project to Federal Environment Minister Sussan Ley and her staff’.
The mine is proposed for an area between Rockhampton and Mackay. It was deemed ‘not suitable to proceed’ by the Queensland government because of ‘unacceptable risks’ to the Great Barrier Reef and surrounding environments.
Minister Ley is expected to announce her decision in July. In Mr Entsch’s letter, he says he expects that ‘through her relatively quick deliberations, Minister Ley will also come to the same conclusions that this mine should not proceed’.
AMCS Great Barrier Reef Cairns campaigner Garrett Swearingan welcomed Mr Entsch’s public opposition to the CQC project and thanked him for expressing his concerns to Minister Ley.
“We’re glad to see Mr Entsch as the Reef special envoy opposing projects which would increase global heating and pollution, both unacceptable threats to our Reef,” he said.
“There is too much at risk to allow CQC to build and operate an open cut coal mine so close to the Reef World Heritage Area.
“Situated immediately downstream from the proposed mine, Broad Sound and surrounds is an area rich in marine life used by protected migratory species like the flatback turtle and the dugong, as well as species important for recreational and commercial fishing like barramundi and mud crabs. Important habitats like seagrasses, salt marshes and mangroves are also found there, acting as vital habitat for threatened species as well as drawing down carbon.
“The Queensland Government’s EIS assessment released in late April was correct in saying the mine is ‘not suitable to proceed’ on environmental grounds. It also backs the conclusions of expert scientists appointed by the Federal Government who warned earlier this year they could not envisage any mitigation measures by CQC that could safeguard nearby environments.”