Environmental groups to miss out on voice on mining issues

PRIME Minister Tony Abbott has vowed to stop environment groups around the country from challenging  mine approvals that may endanger valuable habitats.

Mr Abbott led a lengthy Question Time attack yesterday against the environment movement, inspired by the Mackay Conservation Group's case against the Adani Carmichael coal mine in central Queensland.

The Prime Minister and other frontbenchers took "Dorothy Dixers" on the subject from four Queensland MPs - George Christensen, Michelle Landry, Bruce Scott and Ken O'Dowd.

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Mr Abbott vowed to repeal parts of the Environmental Protection, Biodiversity and Conservation Act that allowed environmentalists to challenge the approval of such projects. He said those parts of the national environmental laws gave green groups the power to sabotage infrastructure projects.

Treasurer Joe Hockey said the recent court case had forced Environment Minister Greg Hunt to reconsider the Carmichael mine and amounted to "a setback for the reputational risk of Australia".

Both Mr Abbott and Mr Hockey repeated the claim the project would offer "10,000 jobs", despite the environment department's estimation of only 2475 in construction and 3920 during its 50-year operation.

Environmental groups and the Greens were in uproar over the decision.

"All the Abbott government cares about is keeping its big coal and gas mates happy, leaving Australia's economy stuck in the past while the rest of the world races ahead with renewable technology," Senator Larissa Waters said.


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