An application to expand a gas project in Queensland’s Surat Basin has passed the Federal Government’s environmental approvals process. Federal environmental laws allow the Government to approve or reject proposed projects on the basis of their consequences for environment protection and biodiversity.
The project is a 1.3% expansion to an existing project owned by the fossil fuel company Santos. The approval is subject to Santos taking steps to reduce the impact on nearby groundwater and snake habitats. It is effective until 2077. The approval was granted by an official in a government department on behalf of Environment Minister Tanya Plibersek.
Greens leader Adam Bandt accused the Government of “making the climate crisis worse,” arguing they were “safeguarding coal and gas corporations’ profits”. The Greens are currently pushing the Government to adopt a total ban on new coal and gas projects in exchange for support on a key Government climate policy. The Greens and independents have also previously called for the Government to add a ‘climate trigger’ to approvals processes which would require consideration of a project’s emissions impact. Approvals currently focus on environmental protection but not emissions.
A spokesperson for Environment Minister Tanya Plibersek told TDA “this proposal, as with all proposals, was assessed on its merits. It was subject to robust scientific assessments, and strict environmental conditions have been applied.”