Youth Verdict urge Qld government to call in Palmer’s Galilee Power Station, say it threatens human rights and should be rejected
The fight to protect human rights and stop a new coal-fired power station in Central Queensland is set to escalate, as Youth Verdict, a Queensland based youth organisation committed to taking legal action on fossil fuel projects that breach human rights and Indigenous cultural rights, urge the Queensland Planning Minister to call in the application and refuse it.
In submissions made on December 1, 2021, Youth Verdict (YV) have called on Planning Minister Steven Miles to call in and refuse the Galilee Power Station, proposed by Clive Palmer’s Waratah Coal. The power station would be near the town of Alpha and would be fed by another Waratah Coal proposal, the adjacent Galilee Coal Project.
The Galilee Coal Project is predicted to make reaching Queensland and Australia’s emission reduction targets impossible to attain and is being challenged by Youth Verdict in the land country on climate change and human rights grounds.
The YV submission has been made in response to the Deputy Premier’s notification in early November that he is considering calling in the proposal and seeking public input.
The Environmental Defenders Office (EDO) provided the submission on behalf of Youth Verdict. EDO is also representing the group in the case against the Galilee Coal Mine. YV argues that both proposals will cause impacts to climate that breach Queenslander’s human rights and the cultural rights of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.
Youth Verdict Director and First Nation Campaign Lead, Murrawah Johnson said: “Climate change is fueling destructive and rapid changes to our lands, water and cultural resources, threatening the human rights of young Indigenous peoples in Queensland.
“Rising sea levels are sweeping sacred sites into the sea, and climate-fuelled destruction of our cultural identities is already happening, with disastrous changes to seasonal patterns and Cultural reference points on Country. Coal burnt at this power station will fuel climate impacts which are severing connections to culture on First Nations Lands around Queensland, Ms Johnson said.
“This power station should not be allowed to destroy our connection to culture. Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultural rights are enshrined in law under the new Queensland Human Rights Act and Minister Miles must uphold them and reject Clive Palmer’s proposal.”
Youth Verdict founder, Monique Jeffs said:
“As young people, we have seen our leaders fail us time and time again. We saw this at the Glasgow Climate Summit where the measures agreed will do little to arrest accelerating global warming. As a young person I have a real fear about what the future holds because it seems like our leaders at a state and federal level don’t take human rights seriously. We cannot wait until 2050, or even 2030, to act on climate change. We need action now and Minister Miles can start by throwing out Clive Palmer’s ill-timed proposal.”
“The Queensland Government must act in accordance with the Human Rights Act and the Planning Act to ensure that this coal fired power station is called in. The only proper assessment is one which would lead to the proposal’s rejection,” Mr Jeffs said.
“The Queensland Government has the power to prevent impacts to the climate, Country and cultural rights being exacerbated by another coal fired power station, and if they are serious at all about respecting First Nations culture and climate action they will use those powers.”
EDO Managing Lawyer, Revel Pointon said:
“On behalf of Youth Verdict, we support this request to the Deputy Premier to call the development permit process in, to ensure it is properly assessed and a decision made against state interests and the requirements of the Human Rights Act.
“It is totally inappropriate that a coal-fired power station, of significant public interest, is being assessed by a local government under an outdated planning scheme without any public notification or appeal rights and without a fulsome environmental impact assessment,” Ms Pointon said.
“On behalf of Youth Verdict, we implore the Queensland Government to take its duties seriously and to call in this application and ensure it is properly decided with these human rights and State interests firmly in mind.”