Barnaby Joyce redfaced on giant Chinese coal mine set to go ahead in his electorate

Minister for Agriculture Barnaby Joyce was embarrassed in Question Time today when Deputy Greens Leader Adam Bandt MP asked him whether the giant Chinese-owned Shenhua Watermark coal mine set to go ahead in his own electorate demonstrates the failure of the National Party to stand up for farmers against the mining industry.

“Today Barnaby Joyce revealed that when it comes to protecting some of Australia’s most fertile farmland, he is all talk and no action,” Mr Bandt said.

“The Minister seems to listen more to his big mining friends than the people he was elected to represent."

“Instead of taking responsibility for standing up for the farmers and landowners him and his party claim to represent, he yelled, screamed and tried to pass the buck onto Labor and the Liberal state government."

“This proves that the Greens are the party to trust on protecting our land, water and climate from destruction by big mining for their own offshore profits,” Mr Bandt said.

Questioning of the Environment Department by Senator Larissa Waters, Australian Greens environment spokesperson, in Senate Estimates this week revealed that the department could stop the Shenhua approval process to get updated advice on water impacts.

“Currently, the approval process is relying on almost two-year-old scientific advice on the water impacts, prepared before the water trigger was in place."

“The federal Environment Department has the power to stop the clock on the approval and get updated advice from the Independent Expert Scientific Committee on coal mines and it should exercise this power immediately."

“It would be reckless to rely on old scientific advice on water impacts, prepared before changes to the mine were made and the water trigger was in place."

“Our water is simply too precious to lose – you can’t eat coal and you can’t drink gas,” Senator Waters said.

View the question from Question Time today here.

Media contacts:

  • Adam Bandt – Adam Pulford, 0429 109 054
  • Senator Waters – Monique Vandeleur, 0419 626 725