The Hon. Josh Frydenberg MP
Minister for the Environment and Energy
After not asking a question on the environment for 566 days, Shadow Environment Minister Tony Burke asked two questions in 48 hours. With the Batman by-election looming, his intention is to distract from Labor’s crab-walk away from its previous support for Adani.
When it comes to the Abbot Point terminal and Adani, there are three points to make:
* The Queensland Government is the primary regulator of the existing Abbot Point terminal, as its construction predates the Environmental Protection and Biodiversity Conservation (EPBC) Act 1999.
* The only existing asset regulated by the Commonwealth is a stormwater return dam which ironically was approved under Tony Burke when he was Environment Minister in 2011. In the aftermath of Cyclone Debbie, my department investigated the stormwater return dam on 27 April 2017 and found that it was not being used and as a result there had been no discharges to the Caley Valley Wetlands from the dam.
* A separate sediment dam regulated by the Queensland Government is the dam that is subject to ongoing court proceedings relating to allegations around excessive discharge.
What Tony Burke’s political mischief does show is how far Labor will go in its desperate attempt to stave off the Greens from taking its inner-city Melbourne seat of Batman.
It was only last year that Opposition Leader Bill Shorten was in Queensland saying:
“I support the Adani coal mine”
Opposition Leader Bill Shorten, Yatala, Queensland, 12 April 2017
His Assistant Climate Change Spokesman Pat Conroy proudly states on his website of the Adani project:
“I welcome the jobs that it will provide in Queensland”
Assistant Climate Change Spokesman Pat Conroy, Website
Tony Burke’s tactics are transparent. In order to create a smokescreen as Labor backtracks from their previous support for Adani, they are peddling misinformation.
Having himself approved under the EPBC Act in 2012 a new coal mine in the Galilee Basin and an accompanying rail line as well as an expansion at Abbot Point, Tony Burke knows all too well the importance of resources development to jobs in the region. Today, it’s an inconvenient truth for him that he would rather forget.
With its disingenuous double-speak, inconsistent positions and populist playbook, the Labor Party would destroy Australian jobs and our proud international reputation as an investment destination.