Adani boss not happy with department's knock back
A START date on Adani's Carmichael mine will remain a mystery as the Department of Environment and Science sends the proponent back to the drawing board.
On Wednesday, the DES released a statement dooming the plan, saying its recommendations had not been met, prompting Adani CEO Lucas Dow to publicly call for a finalisation date from the State Government.
"The DES has today advised Adani that it cannot approve its BTFMP in its current form because it does not meet the requirements of the company's environmental authority. However, Adani may submit a new or revised BTFMP for DES's consideration," a DES spokesperson said.
"This position is based on the best available science."
The spokesperson detailed areas where the Adani's BTFMP had fallen short, including adequately identifying a finch population on its site.
"DES is seeking a number of commitments from Adani. This includes gathering more accurate population information, which is vital to effectively manage and monitor the impacts of the project on the black-throated finch and essential habitats in the project area," the spokesperson said.
"DES invites Adani to make a clear commitment to a limited grazing regime in the project area, and to provide sufficient detail of research that will determine seed availability throughout the year. Both actions are vital to sustaining the black-throated finch population."
Drilling home the point, the spokesperson said the proponent would now have to meet a raft of expectations to gain approval, however the rhetoric suggested some leeway would be given.
"Adani needs to consider DES's advice and make appropriate amendments to the BTFMP before submitting a revised version for the department to assess," the spokesperson said.
"Whilst DES has set out clear commitments that Adani is expected to make in the BTFMP, the activities do not need to be carried out before the BTFMP can be approved."
A fed-up Mr Dow took shots at the State Government's inability to commit to a finalisation date but added the company was "feverishly working through their new requests".
"Although we believe the current version of the black-throated finch management plan already meets our project conditions, we are not going to be pig-headed about it and we will review the feedback from the Queensland department and respond accordingly," MrDow said.
"However, department officials have refused to commit to a time frame to finalise the plan, even if we were to accept the state's new round of requests in full."
Distancing itself from the hold up, DES said in its Wednesday statement the "time frames associated with the approval of the BTFMP now rest with Adani."
However Mr Dow sought to go over the heads of the department, taking his frustration straight to the premier's office.
"At what point does the environment minister get held to account for the performance of her own department and its behaviour?" he said.
"Furthermore, if the department can't provide us an answer, can the environment minister, deputy premier or premier provide us a date instead so we can get on with delivering thousands of jobs for regional Queenslanders?"
A Queensland Government spokesperson said "any political interference in the process being undertaken by the independent assessor would be inappropriate".