Tanya Plibersek hits Clive Palmer where it hurts with environment minister set to REFUSE billionaire’s coal mine to protect the Barrier Reef
- Clive Palmer wants to build a new coal mine project in central Queensland
- But Environment Minister Tanya Plibersek has indicated she will refuse it
- Ms Plibersek said the mine would likely endanger the Great Barrier Reef
- It comes as coal exports soared to $113billion in the last financial year
Tanya Plibersek is set to block a new coal mine project proposed by billionaire Clive Palmer.
The Environment Minister said she will likely refuse approval for his Central Queensland Coal Project near Marlborough, just 10km from the Great Barrier Reef coastline.
Ms Plibersek said the 3,000 hectare open cut thermal and coking coal mine would pose ‘unacceptable’ risks to the environment.
Tanya Plibersek is set to block a new coal mine project proposed by billionaire Clive Palmer
Ms Plibersek said the open cut thermal and coking coal mine would pose ‘unacceptable’ risks to the environment. Pictured: The Great Barrier Reef
‘Based on the information available to me at this stage, I believe that the project would be likely to have unacceptable impacts to the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park, and the values of the Great Barrier Reef World Heritage Area and National Heritage Place,’ she said in a statement on Thursday.
‘The available evidence also suggests that the project would be likely to have unacceptable impacts on water resources in the area.’
Last year the Queensland Government said the proposed mine – which would last for 24 years – was unsuitable because it risked damaging the reef and nearby ecosystems dependent on groundwater.
Ms Plibersek will seek feedback on her draft decision over the next 10 days before likely banning the project under the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999.
Mr Palmer, whose company mineralogy owns Central Queensland Coal – and who spent $100million trying and failing to win more than one seat in Parliament at the last election – is yet to comment on her draft decision.
The new Labor government has vowed to take better care of the environment than the Coalition and has passed a bill enshrining its 43 per cent emissions reduction target through the House of Representatives.
The Greens have supported the bill but are pushing Labor to stop any new coal and gas projects.
Mr Palmer, whose company mineralogy owns Central Queensland Coal, is yet to comment on the draft decision
It comes as Australia’s trade surplus hit a record $17.7 billion in June, aided by strong shipments of coal, iron ore and grain.
With prices soaring due to Russia’s war on Ukraine, Australian coal exports hit $113billion over the year to June, more than triple the previous year.
Gas exports more than doubled to $88million and rural goods exports including meat and grain hit $64billion, up from $45billion the year before.
The strong figures provide a major boost to the federal Budget, potentially cutting the predicted budget deficit for last year in half.
The monthly trade surplus rose from May’s $15 billion, the Australian Bureau of Statistics reported on Thursday, far outpacing expectations of a fall to $14billion.
Exports were up by $2.9billion, or 5.1 per cent, while imports rose just $324million, or 0.7 per cent.
CommSec chief economist Craig James said the figure marked Australia’s 54th monthly trade surplus.
It comes as Australia’s trade surplus hit a record $17.7 billion in June, aided by strong shipments of coal, iron ore, gas (pictured) and grain
‘The income flowing into Australia is supporting Aussie businesses at a crucial time – a time when fears of recession are being expressed globally,’ he wrote in a note.
ANZ economists Madeline Dunk and David Plank said the strength in exports was driven by both price and volume, and the data pointed to a large contribution from net exports to second-quarter gross domestic product.
But they added the country’s surplus was probably near its peak and would start to slide.
Australia’s biggest buyer, China, is trying to limit its reliance on coal imports and produce less steel.
Mr James noted Australia’s exports to China of $170.5 billion in the 12 months to June were well down on the record of $179.5 billion set in the year to November 2021.
In contrast, Australia’s trade with India has soared, with exports up 108 per cent over the year and imports up 63.5 per cent.
‘Exports to India are more important than the US and UK combined,’ Mr James said.
Iron ore exports were up 5.5 per cent to $15.5billion, with shipments rising significantly to China, Vietnam and Taiwan.
Gold exports were up 63.8 per cent following a 71 per cent increase in May, rises only partly explained by high prices for the commodity.
Rural goods exports including meat and grain hit $64billion, up from $45billion the year before
The ABS also noted that lithium exports in June hit a record $1.1 billion, up a staggering 1189 per cent from a year ago.
Nearly all Australian lithium is produced in WA and 94 per cent of all exports this year have been to China.
Lithium is a key component in rechargeable batteries used in the electric vehicle industry as well as in consumer devices and the storage of renewable energy.
Exports of the commodity are expected to continue rising, contributing $9.4billion in revenue to Australia’s economy by 2023/24, the ABS said.