Judicial Review of Environment Minister’s assessment of new coal mines in Federal Court today


12th of February 2023

The appeal hearing relating to the Living Wonders Cases will begin on Monday 12 and Tuesday 13 February, where three Federal Court judges will assess whether ​​Australia’s Environment Minister, Tanya Plibersek, is required by law to scrutinise the climate harm of new coal and gas projects.

The Environment Council of Central Queensland (represented by Environmental Justice Australia) is challenging the Minister’s risk assessment of the Narrabri and Mount Pleasant coal mine proposals in NSW, marking the first court challenges to a coal or gas decision made by Australia’s current Environment Minister.

The Council is appealing last year’s decision of a single judge to the Full Bench of the Federal Court.

The litigation stems from a series of reconsideration requests submitted by the Council under the current Environment Protection Biodiversity and Conservation Act. The requests asked Minister Plibersek to reconsider 19 coal and gas proposals because of their climate risks to our environment.

The outcome of these cases could impact the consideration of all future fossil fuel projects in the country, including Australia’s largest proposed new coal mine, Winchester South, which the Queensland government approved on the 7th of February.

The following experts are available to discuss the importance of considering climate harm when assessing fossil fuel projects, and the impact that a warming climate is having on our planet.


Christine Carlisle – President of the Environment Council of Central Queensland

Christine Carlisle has been involved in the Living Wonder cases since their inception.

Tony Fontes – Member of the Environment Council of Central Queensland

Tony Fontes is a veteran dive operator, his involvement in reef conservation started nearly 40 years ago when he realised that coral reefs are under pressure and little was being done to protect them. He has experienced first hand multiple coral bleaching events as ocean temperatures have continued to warm.

NB: As Christine and Tony will present for the Federal Court Judicial Review in Melbourne today and tomorrow, their availability

/Public Release.