Landmark Case Against Galilee Coal Project

Filed under Environment & Pollution, Legal, Mining ~ by Press on  21 Jun 2020

On Friday (19 June 2020) the Environmental Defenders Office (EDO) launched a landmark legal case against Clive Palmer’s Galilee Coal Project.

Bimblebox Alliance’s Sheena Gillmand and Youth Verdict’s Melanie McAliffe outside court hearing against Waratah Coal.

EDO was representing young Queenslanders ‘Youth Verdict’ and rural landholders ‘The Bimblebox Alliance’ in Queensland’s Land Court.

This case is the first time in Australia a coal mine has been challenged on human rights grounds, and the first climate change case by young people.

The Directions hearing outlined the next steps in the case to decide the final date for the hearing, expected to be early 2021.

Youth Verdict, a diverse coalition of young Queenslanders, argued the Galilee Coal Project would cause a breach of their human rights by fuelling dangerous climate change that puts their futures, their lives, and their cultures at risk.

They joined The Bimblebox Alliance Inc., a group of landholders and conservationists, who first objected to the mine in December 2019, arguing the mine would destroy the pristine woodland of the Bimblebox Nature Refuge and its inhabitants, and be lost for future generations.

The Bimblebox Alliance has objected to this coal mine because it will destroy a protected area – the Bimblebox Nature Refuge. Today’s hearing marks 12 years since Waratah Coal first applied to develop this mine,” said Sheena Gillman, spokesperson for The Bimblebox Alliance.

The Bimblebox Nature Refuge is a sanctuary to thousands of animals and is home to the iconic Rufus Betong. The 300 year old trees, heathland and wetlands that make up Bimblebox can not be offset or replaced. Bimblebox is largely uncleared and in its natural state, it is a hotspot of biodiversity and must be protected.

The Bimblebox Nature Refuge was created through contract in perpetuity, and it’s disgraceful that the Queensland Government can just sign this away. We will fight this proposed development because it is totally inappropriate land-use to destroy this nature refuge for a coal mine.”

Youth Verdict Co-founder Mel McAuliffe said the group, in launching their historic legal case against Clive Palmer’s Waratah Coal Project, was a step forward in the fight to protect their human rights from the worsening impacts of climate change. 

Youth Verdict members come from all around Queensland and many have experienced climate-fuelled droughts, floods, bushfires, storms.

I grew up on a cattle station in Central Queensland during the Millennium drought. That experience motivates me to fight for the safe future my generation deserves.” 

Principal Solicitor at EDO Sean Ryan said it was a significant case because it was the first time in Australia that challenged a coal mine on human rights grounds.

Our clients represent local landholders and their supporters standing shoulder-to-shoulder with young people standing up for their human rights.

This is an important first step in this landmark case, and the first day in court for our clients as they challenge Clive Palmer’s Galilee Coal Project. Our clients are among dozens of parties objecting to the Galilee Coal Project. Today’s hearing will set the timetable for how those objections will proceed.” 

Farmer Cassoni and government sign in Bimblebox Nature Refuge.

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