The Galilee Basin is a vast geological basin in central Queensland, west of Mackay. The mining industry plans to turn it into the Ruhr of the south — seven mines (and counting), multiple railway alignments, two coal-fired power stations and two massive port expansions are in various stages of environmental assessment, one by one. Together they extend over an area 300 km long. The implications for the world’s climate, the Burdekin River, the Great Barrier Reef and the Great Artesian Basin are huge, not to mention the pressure on local landholders and traditional owners. Bimblebox Nature Refuge is just one planned casualty of the coal-rush.
Several of the mines and ports are being challenged in different courts. The state of play in March 2015 is:
Alpha Coal Mine. During 2013, the Queensland Land Court considered objections to GVK's Alpha mine; its decision handed down in April 2014 was either to refuse environmental approval entirely or to make it subject to resolution of all concerns about water use in accordance with the precautionary principle (see full decision below). That decision is being appealed by one of the original objectors, Coast and Country; the appeal is scheduled to be heard in April 2015.
Kevins Corner Coal Mine. Another GVK mine. The Queensland Land Court is likely to hold hearings to consider objections around May 2015.
Carmichael (Adani) coal mine and railway. The Queensland Land Court is scheduled to hear objections in April 2015. Judicial review of the federal Environment Minister's failure to take greenhouse gas emissions into account when approving the mine will be heard at the Federal Court in Sydney on 10-11 August 2015. The Mackay Conservation Group is taking the action, represented by EDO NSW.
Other legal action is challenging the approval of port develoments and dredging.
Bimblebox Nature Refuge
Image. Brolgas at Bimblebox, Sonya Duus