Adani's controversy-hit $21.7 billion Carmichael coal mine project in Australia faced another legal hurdle after a court on Friday launched a judicial review of the Queensland government's approval to one of the world's largest coal mines projects, with the Indian-mining giant describing the case as "delaying tactics".
Conservation group Coast and Country (C&C), which had filed an appeal in the Supreme Court for a judicial review, argued that the state government's approval to the Indian mining giant's project was not made lawfully and should be overturned.
A one-day hearing as part of a judicial review was held at Brisbane Supreme Court today, Queensland Times reported.
The green group's spokesperson Derec Davies said, "C&C is of the view that the Queensland Department of Environment and Heritage Protection made an error of law and did not comply with an important environmental obligation when approving construction of one of the world's biggest coal mines."
He said the department failed in its obligation under state Environmental Protection Act to determine whether its decision would best achieve ecologically sustainable development.
CEO of Environmental Defenders Office Queensland (EDO Qld), the state's non-profit community legal centre for environment and lawyers forC&C, Jo-Anne Bragg said, "The licence, called an environmental authority, was granted by the state government department on February 2,2016, and is one of two main Queensland Government licences the project for Central Queensland's Galilee Basin needed before it could commence operation."
"Our government is entrusted by the community to make lawful decisions, yet an examination of the reasons for deciding to grant this licence has revealed they failed to comply with Section 5 of Queensland's Environmental Protection Act (EP Act). This is a matter of law and it is very important government gets it right," Bragg said.
He said Friday's judicial review was an opportunity for the lawfulness of the government's decision-making on this matter to be scrutinised by the independent Supreme Court of Queensland.
"This judicial review follows, but is a separate legal proceeding from, a Land Court recommendation in late 2015 for tighter conditions to protect the endangered Black-Throated Finch. Last year, that Land Court case also exposed Adani's over inflated job figures to be 1,464 net jobs instead of the company's claimed 10,000 jobs," Bragg said.
Issuing asharp response to the latest legal hurdle, Adani company in a statement said, "The suggestion by serial litigant Land Services of Coast and Country in statements that a five-year approvals process is rushed, or that approvals sought and given under successive governments of both political persuasions is anti-democratic, or that the government has erred in applying the legislation, defies common sense.
"At the heart of this approach is their consistent attempt not to seek their day in court, but years in court. Plainly, this politically-motivated, activist-led challenge is designed to delay the benefits of Adani's Carmichael mine that will flow to workers and communities in central and north Queensland crying out for job-creating major projects such as the company's mine, rail and port projects to proceed," the statement said.
The statement further stressed that the company would not be deterred by such"delaying tactics", and once these challenges are resolved, it would stand ready to build its long term future with Queensland and expressed confidence in state and federal processes.
Adani's project has been hampered time and again since its launch six years ago.
A federal court in August last year had revoked the original approval due to environmental concerns. In October last year, the project got a new lease of life after the Australian government gave its re-approval.