Media comments: Turnbull Government putting economy, environment at risk with Abbot Point approval

22 December 2015

In response to the news that Environment Minister Greg Hunt has approved the expansion of the Abbot Point coal export terminal, Market Forces Executive Director Julien Vincent said:

“It’s pretty clear that the Australian Government is prepared to take this country’s economy down with the coal industry, as the world moves away from high-carbon industries.

“The current coal export terminal at Abbot Point is performing so poorly that its debt is at risk of being downgraded to junk. Moreover, we have just witnessed the end of historic talks on climate change in Paris, with an agreement to hold global warming to well below two degrees.

“Yet what do we see from the alleged Environment Minister? A decision to approve a multi-billion project that at best would be another Wiggins Island Coal Export Terminal, dredging up the Great Barrier Reef World Heritage Area to build an expensive stranded asset. At worst, a project that opens up the prospect of coal mining in the Galilee Basin, a prospect entirely at odds with limiting global warming. If Mr Hunt wants to abandon economic common sense and respect for the environment he is welcome to, but not from a position of influence over Australia’s economy.

“Fortunately, banks around the world have shown they’re more responsible than this. So far, thirteen banks internationally have ruled out finance for the Abbot Point expansion or the mines that would feed this environmentally damaging expansion.

“We and others will continue to fight this environment and economic disaster-in-waiting until it is nothing more than a bad idea, long forgotten.