Protestors in April this year at Brisbane Magistrates Court showed support for a court case challenging a major coal mine proposed for Queensland.
Protestors in April this year at Brisbane Magistrates Court showed support for a court case challenging a major coal mine proposed for Queensland. Pamela Frost

Green groups ‘sabotaging’ mines through courts: PM

GREEN groups are engaging in "legal sabotage" to stop developments such as Adani's Carmichael mine, Prime Minister Tony Abbott has declared.

Speaking to reporters yesterday Mr Abbott said it was "unfair" environmental groups court challenges were derailing major projects.

"Particularly with the Adani mine in Queensland we had a sustained period of harassment through the courts," he said.

"What we've seen again and again and again is new matters being raised after the matter has seemingly been resolved.

"It's unfair, it's just unfair."

READ MORE: Attorney General labels case against Adani "vigilanteeism"

It is the second time this month Mr Abbott has said legal challenges to mines risked economic development.

Greens deputy leader Larissa Waters said attempting to change the process was an "attack on democracy".

"The Abbott Government won't let anything get in the way of its coal obsession, not even the law," she said.

"It's so determined to put coal ahead of renewables, despite renewable technology bounding ahead and the coal price dwindling, that it wants to take away public rights to uphold environment law.

"It's outrageous for the Attorney-General to be proposing reducing community enforcement rights. As first law officer of the nation, he should be pushing to strengthen public enforcement to further uphold the law."

Mr Abbott's comments come after Attorney-General George Brandis suggested changing the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act to prevent legal action like the ones that stopped the Carmichael mine.

"I think the Adani case has shown why it's very important that the courts not be used as a forum for vigilante litigation by people whose aim is to game the system, who have no legitimate interest other than to prosecute a political vendetta against development and bring massive developments, on which in this case some 2600 jobs depended, to a standstill," Senator Brandis told Sky News.

- APN NEWSDESK


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