Concerns over compo if coal ban bill successful
CONCERNS have been raised around whether compensation would need to be paid to three companies granted exploratory mining leases in the Galilee Basin if the Greens' Bill seeking to ban thermal coal mining was successful.
It comes after Adani labelled the Bill "dangerous" for Queensland.
Greens MP Michael Berkman was grilled over possible compensation issues at the public hearing for his Bill this morning.
Ipswich West MP Jim Madden, who sits on the State Development, Natural Resources and Agricultural Industry Development Committee that's holding today's hearing, referred to when the New South Wales Government paid $220 million to BHP Billiton to buy back the Caroona coal lease following concerns from local farmers.
Mr Madden said there were seven exploration permits lodged for the Galilee Basin, with three having been accepted.
"This is evidence of a government (NSW) anticipating litigation and choosing … action to pay compensation in lieu of avoiding litigation," he said.
"On the basis of the decision in NSW … that could mean in Queensland, the Government could potentially be paying $660 million in compensation should your bill be successful."
Mr Berkman said it was a completely different proposition.
"The suggestion one circumstance of the New South Wales Government buying back exploration permits exposes the Queensland Government to compensation in the order of $600 million, I don't accept that," he said.
"If the committee is concerned that there is a genuine risk of some compensation being paid, let's consider that in the context of the cost to Queensland, the cost to our communities - of climate change - not just over the lifespan of these mines, let's consider that for the indefinite future."
Earlier, Adani warned a bill aimed at killing off its controversial Queensland coal mine would do untold harm to the state's economy.
State Greens MP Michael Berkman put forward a retrospective bill to ban coal mining in the Galilee Basin where the mine site is located.
He wants existing mine leases, including Adani's, torn up and coal mining in the basin banned forever to ensure Australia can meet its targets under the Paris pact to fight global warming.
Adani Mining chief executive Lucas Dow will address a public hearing in Brisbane today but has already warned the bill is economically dangerous for Queensland.
"This bill would create enormous regulatory uncertainty and sovereign risk for Queensland, which would extend well beyond simply the Galilee Basin," he told ABC radio, ahead of the hearings.
"It would have far-reaching impacts, and would also put the government in a position of having to pay compensation."
Mr Berkman said that if the entire basin was mined, this would increase the seaborne thermal coal market by 30 per cent.
"That's going to drive down prices, that's going to increase the uptake of coal, and it's going to mean that we completely blow our Paris targets," he said.
"That's really what this is about. No amount of solar power, no amount of renewable energy of any type, can prevent the most catastrophic consequences of climate change if we dig up this volume of coal."
Mr Dow was due to address Monday's hearing at 11.15am.