Adani approval under pressure
CSIRO was pushed to accept the Federal Government’s approval of the Adani’s groundwater plans, reports say.
Emails obtained under freedom-of-information laws show the chief science agency was given just a few hours to accept the federal government’s approval of Adani’s groundwater management plan.
Environment minister Melissa Price signed off on Adani’s groundwater management plan just before the Prime Minister called the election for May 18.
She said at the time that she had been assured by both Geoscience Australia and the CSIRO that the plans had met strict scientific guidelines.
However, there are now serious questions about her account of events leading to the approval.
Earlier reports had shown Adani refused to accept several of Geoscience Australia’s recommendations.
This week, the ABC is reporting that the CSIRO did not give categorical advice that its earlier concerns had been addressed.
CSIRO research director, Warwick McDonald, specifically stated he had “been careful about not being categoric about the degree [to which] these responses will satisfy the recommendations”.
He said it was impossible to give categorical advice because “the devil is in the detail that we do not have”.
The Australian Conservation Foundation said the process appears to have been politicised.
“Whatever its stripes, the next Australian government must review the approval of Adani’s groundwater plan – and others issued to the company – immediately after the election,” Christian Slattery, the ACF’s Stop Adani campaigner, said.
“Australians are right to be concerned about the process behind the last-minute Adani groundwater sign off and in turn all other federal environmental approvals issued to the company to dig its massive new coalmine.”
A spokesperson for the hard-to-spot Ms Price reiterated statements that the Carmichael project underwent the most rigorous assessment of any Australian mining project.