Margaret Gleeson

Opponents of the Stage 3 expansion of the Acland coalmine in the Darling Downs in Queensland have called on the Palaszczuk government to make good on its campaign promises and reject the application by New Hope Coal. This comes in the wake of revelations that the mining company New Hope Group, would receive about 77% of royalties, while the state would get only 7%.
Financial evidence in the Queensland Land and Environment Court hearing on the proposed Carmichael coalmine in the Galilee Basin points to a venture that would operate at a loss and not result in projected increases in public revenue. Evidence was presented by Rajesh Gupta, Adani’s local financial controller and Tim Buckley, financial analyst called by Land Services of Coast and Country (LSCC), the environmental group seeking to block the mine. Gupta agreed under cross-examination the company would look to minimise its tax obligations within the law.
Proceedings in the Queensland Land and Environment Court concerning the objection by conservation group Land Services of Coast and Country (LSCC) to the Adani Carmichael coal mine in the Galilee Basin are drawing to a close. LSCC’s objection to the mine is based on the claim that it poses an unacceptable danger to climate change, groundwater, the Great Barrier Reef and the endangered black-throated finch.
As the Galilee Basin project faces legal challenges by Aboriginal and other community groups and international banks refuse to finance it, the environment movement is focusing its campaign on ensuring that the Australian Big 4 banks also withhold finance.
A month after the Labor landslide electoral victory, Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk has begun to fine-tune her government’s opposition to the sale of public assets. The sale of public assets caused the demise of both the previous Labor and Liberal-National Party governments. The Palaszczuk Labor government was elected on a platform of halting the proposed sale of state assets, such as electricity and ports.
Former Governor-General Quentin Bryce, who chaired the Special Task force on Domestic and Family Violence, handed the report Not Now, Not Ever: Putting an End to Domestic and Family Violence in Queensland to Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk on February 28. The task force was established on September 10 last year by the previous LNP government and charged to deliver its findings by February 28. It included several now-former MPs.
With 44 seats (to the LNPs 42) and the support of Independent Peter Wellington, the ALP leader Annastacia Palaszczuk was sworn in as Premier on February 14. The full Cabinet of 14 (including 8 women) was sworn in on February 16. The ALP minority government represents a number of firsts for Queensland: first cabinet with a majority of women ministers; first female team of Premier and Deputy Premier (Jacki Trad); and first woman indigenous cabinet minister Leeanne Enoch. It is assumed that the axing of asset sales will be the first item on the new government’s to-do list.
As predicted by opinion polls, Liberal National Party (LNP) Premier Campbell Newman was an early casualty on election night, January 31. He was defeated in his electorate of Ashgrove by Kate Jones, the Environment Minister in the previous Labor government. He is the first incumbent premier to lose his seat in Australia. With more than 70% of the votes counted at the close of counting on election night, the outcome for the ALP was even better than opinion polls had predicted.
As the Queensland election campaign enters its final days, a Labor victory seems unlikely. Labor and the Liberal-National Party (LNP) say they will not do deals with minor parties. Recent opinion polls indicate the LNP will be re-elected with a clear majority. However, Campbell Newman could still be replaced as premier. Opinion polls are predicting between 10% and 11% swings to Labor. It needs a swing of 5.4% to unseat Newman in his electorate of Ashgrove.
The G20 barriers were still in place, the interstate police contingents had not left Brisbane, and US President Barack Obama’s “Brisbane” speech calling for protection for the Great Barrier Reef was still resonating when Premier Campbell Newman announced he had brokered a deal with Indian mining company Adani.

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