Environmentalist groups oppose Australian government's plan to remove environmentalist rights post Adani’s Carmichael mine decision; HSI director calls move 'distrusting'

By @Guneet_B on
Abbott on coal mining
Australia's conservative federal opposition leader, Tony Abbott, looks on at the Metropolitan coal mine at Helensburgh, 40km (25 miles) south west of Sydney June 9, 2011. Reuters

The plan to remove the rights of a majority of environmentalist groups to challenge the federal laws, recently proposed by the Attorney General George Brandis to the cabinet, has been witnessing the opposition of different green groups.  The legislation, which is scheduled to be introduced into the Parliament soon, will completely cut the rights of such groups to access the courts to enforce environmental laws.

The director of an environmentalist group, Humane Society International, or HSI, Michael Kennedy believes that Brandis has clearly proved that he completely disregards environment and communities which should actually be considered before framing such a law. According to Kennedy, the “distrusting” move suggested by Brandis restricts the rights of the environmentalist groups to enforce a law in cases where even the government fails to do so.

The decision to curb the rights of the groups has come after the Federal Court's decision to overturn the Abbott government's approval on one of the largest proposed coal project so far, the Adani’s Carmichael mine in north Queensland. The federal court said that Greg Hunt, the environment minister, ignored the advice of his colleagues in the department about the impact of the project on the two vulnerable species – the yakka skink and the ornamental snake.

The Guardian reports that Brandis has blamed the green groups of sabotaging the development, growth and jobs by unfair use of the courts. The attorney general further labelled the federal court's decision to overturn the Adani’s Carmichael mine project as "lawfare” brought by "vigilante litigants.”

Meanwhile, HSI believes that the government's latest move is a strategy to silence the communities who wish to participate against the "government's draconian environmental agenda." Kennedy further says that the problem is not with the community or the green or environmentalist groups, but with the government's itself.

“The Attorney General's reaction has been predictable. He needs to accept the ruling of the Federal Court instead of lashing out against communities who want to protect our natural world for new generations, and see the law of the land fully respected. The problem is not the community, it is the Government's incompetence, and its total lack of empathy of effectively protecting the environment,” said Kennedy in a press statement.

In the past, HSI has worked to bring a number of legal cases under the EPBC Act for the protection of many threatened species. In one such case, the group prevented the prevented Kyodo, a Japanese company from whaling in the Australian Whale Sanctuary.

Contact the writer at feedback@ibtimes.com.au, or let us know what you think below.

Join the Discussion