Federal government must rule out new coal, gas

The Environmental Protection Authority has just recommended ministerial approval to extend the Karratha Gas Plant to 2070. Photo: Woodside Energy

New federal environment minister Tanya Plibersek is being asked to reconsider nearly all new coal and gas proposals awaiting federal approval now.

This is a result of a challenge by The Environment Council of Central Queensland, with the support of Environmental Justice Australia.

This is a huge opportunity and a key test for the new government about how seriously it will tackle climate change.

After years of delay and denial under the former Coalition government, the new Anthony Albanese government understands the threat of climate change. Federal Labor has already moved to enact significant parts of its climate and energy policy and put the country back in the global climate action game.

Whether these new coal and gas projects are approved will be a major test of how deep Labor’s commitment is.

Coal mine proposals on the federal referral list include billionaire Clive Palmer’s open-cut coal mine 10 kilometres from the coast near the Great Barrier Reef and an extension of the Narrabri coal mine, described as Australia’s “dirtiest thermal coal project”.

If the 27 projects all go ahead, they could release nearly 17 billion tonnes of carbon dioxide — more than 35 times Australia’s annual emissions. Nineteen “reconsideration requests” have been submitted.

Plibersek has said she will “carefully consider” the projects referred under the national environmental laws.

[Cam Walker is Friends of the Earth campaigns coordinator. Friends of the Earth is asking people to email or call the minister with a short, polite message on 02 6277 7920.]