In September 2020, our lawyers wrote to the Queensland Environment Minister requesting a law change and an investigation into Adani Group’s ‘suitable operator’ status in light of fresh allegations revealed by the ABC about the company’s concerning international track record.
We have provided the Environment Minister with a detailed new legal analysis of several concerning breaches of the law in overseas jurisdictions. These breaches must be closely scrutinised in an investigation of whether Adani Mining Pty Ltd’s ‘suitable operator’ registration should be cancelled.
Our legal report, “Suitable Scrutiny” also details publicly available information about the existing record of failure to comply with Australian laws that will be relevant to any investigation into Adani Mining Pty Ltd’s suitability to be a registered ‘suitable operator’.
A ‘suitable operator’ is a person or corporation who has been registered by the Department of Environment and Science as being suitable to carry out an environmentally relevant activity (ERA). This suitable operator registration is required under the Environmental Protection Act 1994 in order to hold an environmental authority.
We are calling on the Palaszczuk Government to fix flaws in environmental protection laws that fail to take into account Adani’s terrible international track record. We argue that an applicant’s track record should be considered in an investigation into Adani’s ‘suitable operator’ status, to consider whether their track record warrants cancellation or suspension of their suitable operator registration. Cancellation or suspension would be grounds to cancel their licence to dig the Carmichael coal mine.
“The Adani Group has a well-documented history of failing to comply with the law, with disastrous consequences for people and the environment. The reported allegations brought by community members and filed in the Jharkhand High Court against an Adani Group company operating in Godda should be of concern to Australian governments.” – Ariane Wilkinson, Senior Lawyer
The Queensland government must fix the gaping hole in their environment laws which fails to scrutinise offences which happen overseas. There’s a reason we have background checks in the law. It’s to manage risk and protect us all. Not taking into account a company’s environmental record in overseas jurisdictions, puts our air, water and wildlife at severe risk from companies like Adani with shocking environmental track records.
Overseas, Adani Group companies have an appalling record of environmental destruction and prosecutions, including illegal dealings, bribery and social devastation. They face allegations of corruption, fraud and money laundering. Under Queensland’s environment laws, none of this record is taken into account when assessing Adani for ‘suitable operator’ status.