Queensland approves Adani's black-throated finch plan

People in Australia protest against Adani’s coal project. Credit Reuters  Files

People in Australia protest against Adani’s coal project. Credit Reuters Files

The state Department of Environment and Science has ticked off on its proposal to protect the endangered black-throated finch, which lives on its central Queensland mine site.

"The area where Adani wants to dig the Carmichael mine is home to the largest known population of Black-throated finches and some of the best remaining habitat", he said.

He said Adani modified its finch management plan to incorporate departmental demands, even though it didn't think some of them were really necessary to protect the species.

Gautam Adani-led Adani Group entered Australia in 2010 with the purchase of the greenfield Carmichael coal mine in the Galilee Basin in central Queensland, and the Abbot Point port near Bowen in the north.

It's now waiting on one last state approval, with the Department of Environment and Science due to decide on its groundwater management plan by June 13.

Adani is welcoming the decision, but some researchers are anxious the process has been rushed. "The obliteration of the bird's stronghold in the Galilee Basin is the same as shooting them", Former Greens leader and Stop Adani campaigner Bob Brown said in a statement reported by SBS News.

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Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk (right) last week intervened to approve the finch management plan, following Labor's poor showing in the Sunshine State at the election.

She conceded Queenslanders were fed up with delays to state approvals and ordered the state's Coordinator-General Barry Broe to meet with the company and officials from her environment department and agree on approval deadlines. Christian Slattery from the ACF contends the approval process was flawed.

"Politicians should stand up to corporate bullying, not roll over and roll out the red carpet. All of the monitoring and surveying in the world doesn't avoid the fact that the bird habitat is being destroyed - extinction is forever", he said.

Adani said it had received notice that its plan had been approved.

A local conservation group condemned Friday's approval, saying in a statement that "Australians should be alarmed by this decision". "Obviously, we incorporated a number of requirements the department asked of us", he said.

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