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Australia’s coal politics are undermining democratic and Indigenous rights

Kristen Lyons writes in The Conversation (26.10.16) about the ‘undermining’ effect that the coal mining industry, and its often close links to state and federal governments, can have upon the nation’s democracy and the rights of individual citizens and land-owners.

‘Can Australia achieve fair and open decision-making when big coal players are involved? The case of Adani’s proposed Carmichael coal mine suggests the answer is no, and Indigenous land owners are bearing the brunt.

‘The Queensland government’s recent decision to declare the mine “critical infrastructure” grants the Queensland Coordinator General extraordinary powers to progress the development.

‘Yet the highly contentious mine continues to face criticism for its environmental impacts, as well as financial woes, as well as active resistance from traditional land owners in the region, represented by the Wangan and Jagalingou Traditional Owners council.

‘… By saying no to Adani, Wangan and Jagalingou council are leaders in the global climate change and human rights movement. They are at the forefront in carving out a path that challenges Australia to meet its international responsibilities.

‘It remains to be seen whether Australia has the vision and courage to commit to a human rights agenda in grappling with the challenges of climate change and energy transition. Respecting Traditional Owners’ right to say “no deal” to Adani would be a great start.’

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