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Reef in the balance as Senate changes

Today's announcement by Clive Palmer's Waratah Coal that he will seek to take over BHP's abandoned proposal to develop Abbot Point coal terminal, underscores just how urgently we need better national laws to ensure business cannot improperly influence politics, say the Australian Greens.

"Australians deserve to know what Mr Palmer and his Senators will abstain from voting on in the Parliament, given Mr Palmer's business interests," Australian Greens spokesperson for the environment, Senator Larissa Waters, said.

"With Minister Hunt set to decide on whether Clive Palmer's coal company can expand T2 at Abbot Point, and the Abbott Government soon to need the Palmer Party's votes in the Senate, the community will question what deals may be done behind closed doors and whose interests those deals would serve.

"With reports today that a QCoal senior employee has been drafting the Queensland LNP Government's environment policy, it's no wonder the community have concerns about the mining industry's influence on politics.

"It would be economic and environmental folly to proceed with the T2 expansion at Abbot Point, and Minister Hunt should listen to the science and the international concern and refuse any application for developing T2.

"Rio, BHP, Anglo American Coal and Lend Lease have read the economic writing on the wall and felt the scientific and community pressure to protect our Reef, and have pulled out of the Abbot Point coal terminal expansion.

"The Greens call on Clive Palmer to follow their lead, and retreat from more damage at Abbot Point.

"I currently have a bill in the Senate to adopt the World Heritage Committee's recommendations, including banning new ports in pristine areas and placing a moratorium on all further developments, and I will be bringing it on for debate in the Senate.

"Our iconic Great Barrier Reef employs 63,000 people, brings in $6 billion each year and is one of the seven natural wonders of the world and should not be compromised for Clive Palmer's profits.

"It's time the Abbott Government realise we're at the end of the fossil fuel era and we need to transition to the safe and viable clean energy alternatives we have on hand that won't wreck our Reef" Senator Waters said.


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