Adani calls for a ‘fair go’
ADANI has called on Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk to clarify the process and timeline of an external review of an environmental management plan for its Carmichael coal mine.
The mining company is awaiting State Government approval of its Black-throated Finch Management Plan, which the Department of Environment and Science (DES) has referred for an external review to be lead by University of Melbourne's Brendan Wintle.
Adani mining chief executive Lucas Dow said the company wanted clarity from Ms Palaszczuk, who is expected to visit Townsville today.
"We are simply seeking a fair go, so can the Premier please guarantee Adani will not be treated any differently to the other miners who have been given approvals to start new mines and expand existing ones in Queensland in recent years," he said.
It comes as the DES failed to meet a requested deadline for information from Adani.
Mr Dow wrote to DES Director-General Jamie Merrick on January 22 raising concerns about the independence and timeline of the review.
In the letter, seen by the Bulletin, Mr Dow said he believed Professor Wintle's publicly expressed views on coal "clearly show" he was "incapable" of leading an independent review.
Mr Dow also raised concerns about when the review would be completed as Professor Wintle was engaged on December 7, 2018 and the review had been slated as an eight-week process.
"I cannot emphasise how concerned Adani is about the process DES is following," he said. Mr Dow requested a response to his concerns by January 23, but as of last night the Bulletin understands Adani had not received a reply.
A DES spokesman said Professor Wintle, who specialises in conservation ecology, was recognised as a "suitably qualified leading scientist" and was putting together a panel of up to six experts for the review.
"These experts, to be announced soon, will be contracted scientists who are highly qualified in relevant fields to perform a review," he said.
The spokesman said the review was due to be completed in February but did not provide a more precise date.
DES has defended its decision to engage an external reviewer and insisted it was "not uncommon".
"The review is consistent with the approach taken by the Federal Department of Environment and Energy, which has engaged CSIRO and Geoscience Australia to undertake an independent scientific review of Adani's Groundwater Dependent Ecosystem Management Plan."