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Green groups slam re-approval of Adani's mine project in Australia

October 16, 2015 12:27 IST

'We will keep fighting for our rights and our culture until this project dies and becomes an ugly memory.'

Image: An aerial view of Lady Elliot Island on the southern end of Australia’s Great Barrier Reef. Photograph: David Gray Reuters

Green and Indigenous groups in Australia have criticised the government's decision to grant new approval to Indian mining giant Adani's $16.5 billion controversial coal mine project in central Queensland, terming the move as a disaster for the climate.

Over two months after an Australian court revoked the environmental approval for the project, Environment Minister Greg Hunt on Thursday gave Adani the re-approval with conditions imposed that take into account community issues.

The latest decision has been termed as a 'travesty' by the traditional owners of Queensland's Galilee Basin, the Wangan and Jagalingou (W&J) people. "It is indicative of the Federal Government's dogged attempts to breathe life into a project that should be abandoned," Adrian Burragubba, a W&J leader and spokesperson for the Traditional Owners Council said.

"We will keep fighting for our rights and our culture until this project dies and becomes an ugly memory".

The W&J statement said that they have twice rejected a 'Land Use Agreement' with Adani for the Carmichael coal mine in the Galilee and have mounted their own separate Federal Court action to stop the mine proceeding.

The case goes to a hearing on November 23 and 24. Responding to the re-approval announcement today, Australia spokesperson Josh Creaser said, "It's clear a Turnbull-led coalition is still wedded to irresponsible and unnecessary coal projects that threaten our climate, communities, water and health."

"In the lead up to the Paris climate talks, Australia’s major export partners and allies are leading a move away from coal. The re-approval of this mega coal mine shows that our Government remains out of touch and unwilling to protect our communities from dirty coal," Creaser said.

Greenpeace Australia Pacific also condemned the decision, saying Carmichael would be a complete disaster for the climate and the Great Barrier Reef.

Mackay Conservation Group said Hunt's re-approval risked threatened species, precious ground water, the global climate and 'money.

"Hunt has again failed the people of Australia by ignoring new evidence on the devastating impacts of what would be Australia's largest coal mine," Mackay's coordinator Ellen Roberts said. 

Natasha Chaku in Melbourne
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