Showing posts with label environmental vandalism. Show all posts
Showing posts with label environmental vandalism. Show all posts

Tuesday, 17 September 2019

Insecticide poisoning caused the death of 15 Satin Bowerbirds found at Modanville, near Lismore in recent weeks


Echo NetDaily,  September 2019:

Insecticide poisoning caused the death of 15 satin bowerbirds found at Modanville, near Lismore in recent weeks, investigators have revealed.
A Satin Bowerbird. Source: Wikipedia
Investigations conducted by North Coast Local Land Services have confirmed that the bird deaths were caused by the banned insecticide Fenthion.
The Environment Protection Authority (EPA) is now seeking assistance from members of the public in a bid to determine how the poisoning occurred.
As the responsible regulator for pesticide use, the EPA is exploring the possibility that the birds, which are a protected native species, may have been deliberately targeted.
No other bird species is known to have been impacted.
EPA Manager Regional Operations North Coast Benjamin Lewin said the killing of native birds, whether through intentional or reckless pesticide misuse, was a serious offence.
‘We are encouraging anyone with information on these deaths, or anyone who may have seen some activity that could be related to this illegal baiting, to contact the EPA as soon as possible,’ Mr Lewin said.
Fenthion, which was banned from use in 2014 with a phase out period of one year, is a broad-spectrum organophosphorus insecticide.
It is extremely toxic to birds and substantial penalties exist for its possession and use.
The chemical was widely used in the past for insect control on a broad range of fruit crops and for external parasite control on livestock.

Monday, 16 September 2019

NSW land clearing for agriculture now thought to exceed 27,100 hectares annually


The Guardian, 13 September 2019:

A highly secret government-commissioned review into skyrocketing rates of clearing of native vegetation for farming in New South Wales has been completed and is likely to add to simmering tensions between the Liberals and Nationals within cabinet.
The review, which was triggered when land clearing exceeded 20,000 hectares in less than a year, has been undertaken by the NSW Natural Resources Commission, an independent body, and is soon to be considered by cabinet.
It is investigating clearing rates since the new Biodiversity Conservation Act began in August 2017 and whether the Act is working to preserve biodiversity.
The NRC’s chief executive, Bryce Wilde, confirmed his agency had been asked by the premier to do the review on 14 January, just before the state election, and had handed the findings to the government six weeks ago.
It did not seek any public or industry submissions, although Wilde said the NRC had sought expert input from consultants, who signed confidentiality agreements.But the mention in an estimates committee on Friday was the first time it had become public. The NRC said the review was “cabinet in confidence” and had sought information from departments only.
The review – and what to do about the escalation of land clearing in NSW – will add to the tensions between the Liberals and Nationals over stewardship of the environment.
The Coalition partners are already at loggerheads over key policies including management of wild brumbies in national parks, water policy and calls by the Nationals to allow logging in the River Red Gum national park on the Murray.
This week the agriculture minister, Adam Marshall, whose seat covers much of northern NSW where the land clearing is occurring, flagged introducing a “regional code” for clearing in the north-west of NSW, saying the current laws were not working well for large-scale farming enterprises.
This was interpreted as a plan to further relax the rules for when farmers can clear without a permit – at least in this region.
Regional codes were foreshadowed in the Biodiversity Conservation Act and a pilot is being run near Walgett.
But the secret NRC review is likely to bolster the arguments of the environment minister, Matt Kean, and the senior portfolio minister, Rob Stokes, who are known to be deeply concerned about the rapid escalation of land clearing and its impact on biodiversity......

Sunday, 15 September 2019

Good grief! Its 2002 meets 2007 in the Northern Rivers region during 2019


Clarence Valley Independent, letter to the Editor,11 September 2019:

Ed,
Good grief! Its 2002 meets 2007 in the Northern Rivers region right now.
This month we learned that there was an approx. 40 degree Celsius sudden warming in the upper atmosphere over Antarctica which will extend the current eastern Australia drought into the foreseeable future. With the Bureau of Meteorology stating that the last time a similar event occurred was in 2002 when the country experienced one of its driest years on record.
Readers might recall that 2002 was smack bang in the middle of the millennium drought. A drought which at one point saw the Orara River cease to run and at another, the Nymboida Weir unable to do more than supply two weeks of drinking water for the Clarence Valley before the pumps would no longer be able to draw any water up at all.
Last month we discovered that wannabee water raiders from the Murray-Darling Basin were back with another bid to divert water from the Clarence River system so that they could get a larger, less expensive dam built to order and, these four local councils – one in NSW and three in Queensland – can then undertake the intended expansion of their their urban and industry footprints.
Just as in 2007 they come at a time when the Clarence Valley is in drought and water flow in the upper reaches of the Clarence River is low, demanding we supply irrigation and drinking water – this time for an additional est. 236,984 people.
And just as in 2007 the media reports that at least one of the councils has already been talking with the federal Minister for Water Resources about their cross-border water diversion scheme and is pursuing a meeting in Canberra [The Chronicle, 3 September 2019, p.5 ].
The only difference between 2002, 2007 and 2019 is that the Clarence Valley acted on the lessons learnt between 1996 and 2010. Something Tenterfield, Toowoomba, Southern Downs and Western Downs failed to do.
Clarence Valley and Coffs Harbour City expanded their original water sharing arrangement by building the Shannon Creek Dam to future proof as much as is possible the water supply for a est. combined total population of 128,198 people.
Now these four Murray-Darling Basin councils want the Clarence River system to supply water for a new total combined population of 365,182 people.
I wonder if now is the time to remind those politicians who may be thinking of supporting this push to build a 20,000 to 30,000 megalitre dam and pipeline that, the last time an attempt was made to grab Clarence water willy nilly, Clarence Valley communities helped bring down a federal government.
Judith M. Melville, Yamba

Friday, 13 September 2019

Water raiders want Clarence Valley communities to be "grown-up" and just let them go ahead and degrade the upper Clarence River water flow


This was Toowooba Regional Council in 2018 and the Clarence Valley's response.......

The Daily Examiner, 24 April 2018

This is Toowoomba Regional Council in 2019......

The Chronicle, 10 September 2019:

TOOWOOMBA Mayor Paul Antonio has called on his New South Wales colleagues to be part of a “grown-up discussion” over long-term water strategies, including a pipeline from the Clarence River.
Cr Antonio’s comments come amid a push-back from the Grafton community over discussions to connect the bountiful Clarence system to struggling areas in the Southern and Western Downs to combat the effects of drought.
Clarence Valley Mayor Jim Simmons said last week he was adamant no headwaters would be leaving the system in the near future, even as the multi-council water allocation plan collects speed.
But Cr Antonio said it was important that all options were explored to ensure the east coast of Australia was well-supplied.
“I think we’ve got to be grown up and have a discussion around that,” he said.
“The Maryland river system has a 21,000ML yield, would take a fraction of water from the Clarence, but make a profound difference.
“We need the state governments in Queensland and New South Wales to facilitate a conversation around water strategies, and I’m having some robust discussions with the mayor of Tenterfield (Peter Petty) at the moment about it.”
The council endorsed a motion early last year to investigate a pipeline from the Clarence River, and the Southern Downs Regional Council made a similar commitment late last week.
Cr Antonio said continuous consultations over water would become the reality for councils and state governments in the near future.
“Water is the new currency, water is the limiting factor in population growth and food production in this area and many other areas,” he said.
“Now is the time to reflect on where we are and put strategies in place and it will lift this nation and make it more productive.”

Clarence Valley Independent, 4 September 2019:

In a video on SDRC’s Facebook site, the [Southern Downs Regional Council] mayor says “we have letters of support from Toowoomba regional Council and Paul Antonio, mayor of Toowoomba, [who is] also the chair of the Darling Downs South West Queensland Council of Mayors”.
Mr Antonio said in his letter: “As chair of Darling Downs South West Queensland Council of Mayors … I write to give the strongest of support to your council’s submission to the Australian Infrastructure Audit regarding long-term water security on the Darling Downs and NSW Border Ranges.”
Mr Antonio referred to a “crisis meeting” held among each of the councils on May 16.
“It was agreed we will work together to spread resources through planning to interconnect our [water] supplies….” he writes.
“New sources of water can include diversion from the headwaters of the Clarence River basin, via the Maryland River, and access to recycled water from Brisbane.
“Both these options require major investment well beyond the means of the councils involved.
“They also will take a merging of political wills across all three levels of government.
“Nothing short of a visionary, nation-building initiative led by the Commonwealth will solve the problem.
This is a Clarence Valley resident's response in 2019.....

The Mayor of Toowoomba, Paul Antonio, claims to want "grown-up discussions" concerning a proposal to dam and divert Clarence River system water across the border into southern Queensland.

Yet strangely he has not been adult enough himself to notify Clarence Valley Council of this proposal or enter into dialogue with this council which represents the majority of people and communities living along the length of this NSW river system.

What Cr. Antonio also forgets or just chooses to ignore when touting his "nation building initiative" is that there in a legislated, carefully considered water sharing plan already in place - the Water Sharing Plan for the Clarence River Unregulated and Alluvial Water Sources 2016.

This plan covers the Maryland River and specifies the limits to granting water access licences, as well as limits to the maximum amount of water which can be drawn off this river which is set out as 995 ML/yr.

It also specifies when extraction should cease due to low flows; "Water must not be taken when the height of the water in Maryland River passing through the culvert pipes over the Rivertree Road near the southern boundary of portion 33, Parish of Reid, County of Buller, is less than or equal to 50 mm."

The plan defines the constraints on harvestable water rights as those set out in Water Management Act 2000 - Sect 53 & 54. This state act blocks supplying "any other land" with water that has been captured by landholders on the Maryland River.

Additionally, the plan limits the water extraction licence pool to an upper limit of 990 share components.

This water sharing plan was not something that was created without "grown-up discussions". Because NSW stakeholders recognized that our rivers are markedly variable and there is significant competition for water (especially in dry times). So there had to be an evidence-based balance between the needs of users and the need for a sustainable environmental flow in this particular Clarence River tributary.

Because without a genuine environmental flow entering the Clarence River at the confluence of the Maryland and Clarence Rivers, the upper Clarence River would overtime become a degraded waterway.

Cr. Antonio is talking of building an in-river dam and, as the proposed amount of water to be held back from entering the Clarence River under this water raiding scheme is actually 55.5% of the average annual flow of the Maryland River and an est. 57% of its unallocated annual flow, it is hard to see how environmental flows below this proposed dam wall can be reliably met.

Especially given there are existing landholder water entitlements in the Rivertree region on which local farmers depend as they come to grips with changing rainfall patterns.

This Queensland local government councillor is yet to demonstrate that he has any understanding of the interconnective nature of hydrological processes at work along the more than 380 km length of the Clarence River from its headwaters to coastal estuary mouth.

Cr. Antonio appears to see the Clarence River system in terms of the potential for economic growth in his own region -  failing to see the very real aesthetic, cultural, social, environmental and economic values it holds for the people of the Clarence Valley.

He does not take into consideration that the Clarence River system already supplies the water needs of 128,198 residents in the Clarence Valley and Coffs Harbour City local government areas and, that this river underpins two regional economies which together were worth an estimated $5.58 billion in 2018. [See Clarence Valley Council Economic Profile and Coffs Harbour City Council Economic Profile]

One might suspect that Cr. Antonio (who will presumably be seeking re-election in a little over five months) views this water diversion proposal solely through the narrow lens of his own political and personal financial ambitions.

Background

2. ABC News, 7 December 2018:

A southern Queensland Mayor has been fined nearly $15,000 after he was found to have engaged in misconduct in his dealings with the Melbourne-to-Brisbane Inland Railway project.
In an interview with the ABC in 2017, Councillor Paul Antonio, who owns a gravel quarry near Millmerran on the route chosen by the Federal Government, conceded he stood to benefit from the inland rail project.
The ABC revealed, Cr Antonio personally paid $4,900 to have an alternate route for the project investigated, which took the line to the very edge of his quarry.
Cr Antonio told the ABC he paid for the map to find an alternative that did not go through prime agricultural land in Millmerran, to help affected farmers.
After initially telling the ABC he gave the map only to one Millmerran farmer, he later conceded he provided the map to former industry minister Ian MacFarlane, who is now the chief executive of the Queensland Resources Council, and the Federal Member for Groom, John McVeigh.
The matter was referred to the Local Government Regional Conduct Review Panel in April 2018 after a complaint was made by a fellow councillor and a member of the public.
The panel decided the complaint of misconduct was sustained.....
Cr Antonio was fined $14.360.50, ordered to undergo counselling, make an admission of error, and apologise at the next council meeting.
The panel also recommended the Local Government Department's chief executive officer monitor Cr Antonio for compliance with the Local Government Act.....

Tuesday, 10 September 2019

Water raiders show their ignorance and reveal the true motive for wanting to dam & divert water from the Clarence River


There are four councils currently calling for the diversion of water from the Clarence River system - Tenterfield Shire Council (NSW), Toowoomba Regional Council (Qld), Southern Downs Regional Council (Qld) and Western Downs Regional Council (Qld).

These local government areas have a combined population of est. 236,984 people.

Here is the aptly named Peter Petty from Tenterfield demonstrating his ignorance about the hydrological processes at work along the more than 380km length of this coastal river. 

He seems to forget there are irrigators already drawing water from the Maryland River, one of the main tributaries of the Clarence River where it rises at Rivertree, NSW and he appears to naively believe that harvesting between 20,00 to 30,000 megalitres from the total unallocated annual flow of 36,839 megalitres would have no effect on the Upper Clarence.

Even if the proposed dam capacity was only 21,000 megalitres that is equivalent to approximately 57 per cent of the average annual unallocated water flowing from this tributary into the Clarence River.

Mr. Petty is likely one of the people supporting an application to Infrastructure Australia to fund this large dam on the Maryland River, in order to pump pipe water over 45 kms as the crow flies into a region in Queensland which is quite capable of building water infrastructure within southern Queensland to meet the needs of its own population.

Just as the last time councils in the Murray-Darling Basin made a concerted effort to raid the Clarence River catchment when the hidden agenda was obtaining someone else's water to expand their own urban footprint and/or grow their own local economies, Mr. Petty let slip a similar hidden motive this time.

It's not about water to relieve current drought conditions because a project such as these councils are suggesting takes years to bring to fruition and will do nothing to ease current water shortages.

No, it's about conning the Federal, New South Wales and Queensland governments into backing infrastructure which will enable this blatant water theft because "they are looking to expand"

The Daily Examiner, 5 September 2019, p.3, excerpt: 

On the issue of building a dam on the Maryborough River, Tenterfield Mayor Peter Petty said he was not concerned about the effect on the lower Clarence because of the small percentage of water being redirected. 

“With the research and everything that has been done up here, we are talking less than 1per cent,” he said. 

Cr Petty said the water issues regional councils faced now were in part due to a reluctance from governments to invest in water infrastructure. He said if people were serious about decentralisation, then more needed to be done to shore up water supplies. 

“We used to lead the world but there has been nothing done for 40 years,” he said. “I have no problem supporting populations to support industry, but you cannot do it without infrastructure to secure water. 

“These towns need to be supported, and especially where they are looking to expand. (Towns like) Warwick and Toowoomba should have had adequate water supply years ago and now we are playing catch up.”

Friday, 6 September 2019

Destruction of tree cover at Woombah Woods Caravan Park still not resolved


"We're literally on watch to call them [council officers] if we see or hear anything. The clearing started without any regard to rules, regulations or the Woombah community." [Emma Mills, Woombah resident quoted in Coastal Views, 16 August 2019] 

 ABC News, 9 August 2019: 

PHOTO: Council approval to develop the site was granted in the 1980s. (Supplied: Emma Mills)


There are fears important wildlife habitat is being destroyed as a developer tries to reactivate a 35-year-old site approval on the New South Wales north coast. 

About 30 large trees have been felled at the Woombah Woods Caravan Park near Iluka this week. Property developer William Hu paid about $2.7 million for the park earlier this year.......

PHOTO: William Hu has plans to expand the caravan park. (ABC North Coast: Bronwyn Herbert) 


He said he planned to remove every tree on the site to make way for more than 60 new cabins. 

"It is my legal right to clear all the trees within the approved footprint," Mr Hu said. 

"I'm a businessman. I want to make money. 

"But I also want my whole community to make money or live in a better environment." 

Clarence Valley Council planner Des Schroder said a temporarily stop-work order had been issued for the site. 

"The reality is that DAs (development approvals), as long as they're commenced, are valid forever," he said. 

"They have started work, the first stage; the question is whether they need DAs for further stages. 

Trees have been cut down in the Woombah Woods Caravan Park.

"That's the point for investigation ... if there needs to be a contemporary ecological survey done, even if the trees are allowed to be cleared. 

"There is significance from a koala point of view ... there is potential maybe for koala food trees or for a corridor." 

Emma Mills lives next to the caravan park and said the area was home to a significant koala population. 

It was also adjacent to a section of the Pacific Highway upgrade where the Roads and Maritime Service had taken measures to keep wildlife off the road, she said. 

"They have just recently installed a koala grid because there is an active koala colony just the opposite side of the highway," Ms Mills said. 

"They have indeed put a highway underpass for the koalas just to reach the eastern corridor, which we form part of. 

"We also see countless birdlife, kookaburras, parrots, black cockatoos, wallabies, bandicoots, possums." 

Stu Stark, who lived in the park for 18 months while building a house nearby, also said he saw and heard koalas. 

"We only saw a couple — they are very hard to spot, but they make a really loud noise at night time," he said. 

"I'm not sure if that's mating, I'm not sure what it is, but we heard plenty of that when we were living over at the caravan park." 

Mr Hu said long-term residents of the park told him they had never seen koalas on the site. 

The developer said he bought the park because he liked its feng shui, and he hoped to buy and develop other similar facilities. 

"This is my baby, my first caravan park. I want to build it up to the standard of William Hu," he said. "I'm going to do more after this one."

Clarence Valley Independent, 14 August 2019:


Mr Hu said that the clearing of the trees was to make way for new cabins and he was acting on advice from consultants who assured him a 1984 approval for development meant he did not require further council approval for the trees removal. 

Clarence Valley Council (CVC) issued a notice “to cease any further works until at least Council completes necessary investigations and provides further advice”. 

The removal of the trees (thought to be grey gum and tallow wood) was raised by the ‘Association of Iluka Residents’ (AIR) last Wednesday. 

President of AIR, Tony Belton claimed the trees were “a significant koala habitat” and that it was thought many of the trees may be around 100 years old.


Mr Belton said the developer is claiming that a DA approval issued over thirty years ago is still relevant, but his argument surely is now invalid, as the science is now showing that koalas in Northern NSW are threatened and under great duress due to habitat removal, displacement and connectivity obstruction. 

“It’s ironic that the major Pacific Highway upgrade being undertaken a mere one hundred meters away (from this caravan park) has had many kilometres of koala fencing and under road tunnels and grids to accommodate the recognised koala habitat and connectivity at Woombah. 

Possibly hundreds of thousands of Federal tax dollars have been spent on this infrastructure in and around Woombah as part of the highway upgrade. 

Surely this is contradictory policy in 2019,” he said. 


As of 3 September 2019 no further tree clearing has occurred at the caravan park and it is understood that the temporary stop work order is still in place.

Given discussions between the Queensland developer and council are confidential, concerned Woombah residents still know little more than those facts contained in the initial media reports.

However, it does appear that the developer's vision for this caravan park may possibly be far removed from conditions contained in the original 1984 DA consent document.

Thursday, 29 August 2019

Castillo Copper pays out $96k in enforceable undertaking after allegedly contravening NSW Mining Act during activity on its Clarence Valley exploration lease


The Daily Examiner, 28 August 2019, p.3: 

The companies behind mining exploration at Cangai have had to pay more than $90,000 after breaching their license. 

Total Minerals Pty. Ltd. and Total Iron Pty Ltd. put forward a $91,000 Mining Act enforceable undertaking which was accepted by the NSW Resources Regulator on Monday in relation to series of serious compliance issues back in November 2018. 

The alleged breaches included unauthorised drilling, not disposing of drilling waste properly and failing to prevent erosion and chemical or fuel spillages, resulted in both companies being issued suspension notices..... 

Resources Regulator Acting Director of Compliance Steve Orr said mining authorisations carried strict compliance responsibilities. “The community expects companies like Total Minerals and Total Iron to be aware of their legal and environmental obligations and have appropriate systems in place to ensure compliance,” Mr Orr said..... 

It was also noted that both companies which are wholly owned subsidiaries of Castillo Copper Ltd. had taken steps to rehabilitate the affected sites at a cost of “about $300,000”

An enforceable undertaking once agreed to avoids any potential prosecution for allegedly identified breaches of the conditions of a mining exploration licence.

A total of 16 offences were alleged by the Resources Regulator who included this notice to be published by the mining company as part of the enforceable undertaking accepted on 21 August 2019: 


Wednesday, 21 August 2019

Tweed Shire Council abandons its principled stand on foreign multinational Adani's proposed Galilee Basin coal mine


In which Tweed Shire Council decides Australia doesn't need the Great Barrier Reef or the Black-throated Finch......

Echo NetDaily, 19 August 2019: 

The Tweed Shire Council has performed a political back-flip on a 2017 promise to avoid hiring building companies contracted to Adani’s proposed Carmichael mine in central Queensland. 

Councillors voted for the ban two years ago, with Tweed Shire Deputy Mayor Chris Cherry (Independent) saying they ‘wished to represent the views of the community’. Cr Cherry said Adani didn’t have any approvals to mine in Carmichael at the time but people on the Tweed were concerned about potential environmental impacts of the project on the Great Barrier Reef. 

Labor councillor flips anti-Adani ban in favour of jobs 

Last week, Cr James Owen (Liberals) tabled a rescission on the 2017 vote and won majority support, meaning the ban no longer applies. 

Cr Ron Cooper (Independent) was absent from the meeting and had originally supported an anti-Adani stance. 

But a change of heart from Cr Reece Brynes (Labor) was enough to change council policy as he joined forces with Councillors Owen, Pryce Allsop (Independent) and Warren Polglase (Nationals). 

Cr Byrnes told Echonetdaily although he initially voted for the ban and continues to share environmental impact concerns, state and federal government approvals of the Carmichael project mean the council has to ‘accept realities’. 

‘My priority and Labor’s priority is always about creating more local jobs in the Tweed,’ he wrote in an email, ‘I make no apologies that Labor’s priority is always about creating jobs’. 

The council had to ‘move away from a position of protest’ to one that wouldn’t ‘prohibit or hamper future projects and jobs for people in the tweed’, Cr Byrnes wrote.....


BRIEF BACKGROUND

Environmental Defenders Office Qld, Case Explainer: Adani’s North Galilee Water Scheme - Federal Judicial Review

Australian Conservation Foundation, Stop Adani's polluting coal mine

Lock the Gate, Coal Mining: Water Impacts of the Adani Coal Mine

Climate Council, Adani Mine Must Be Stopped

ABC News, What we know about Adani's Carmichael coal mine project

Thursday, 15 August 2019

Adani Group's problems continue to make news in 2019


“The commerciality of Adani’s Carmichael mine remains challenging given the significant capital spend and low-quality thermal coal product expected from the mine,” said Brent Spalding, a principal analyst at Wood Mackenzie." [Financial Review, 9 July 2019]

"Adani allowed stormwater discharges from the port in March 2017 (to the marine environment and to the Caley Valley Wetlands) and again in February 2019 (to the wetlands) in excess of licence limits.....In February 2019, Adani announced it had again discharged stormwater into the Caley Valley Wetlands in excess of its EA limit. Government investigations also confirmed the exceedance, and Adani paid an infringement fine of $13,055 for the breach." [Environmental Defenders Office Qld, 23 May 2019]

"....Abbot Point Bulkcoal Pty Ltd, an Adani subsidiary, for a substantial exceedance of a license to pollute the Great Barrier Reef World Heritage Area with coal dust when Cyclone Debbie made landfall in 2017, even though the license was granted specifically to account for possibly increased emissions resulting from the cyclone. During the course of this prosecution, the DEHP discovered that Abbot Point Bulkcoal Pty Ltd may have submitted an altered laboratory report showing reduced levels of pollution." [Environmental Justice Australia, March 2019]

ABC News, 13 August 2019: 

The announcement by Suncorp that it will no longer insure new thermal coal projects, along with a similar announcement by QBE Insurance a few months earlier, brings Australia into line with Europe where most major insurers have broken with coal.


US firms have been a little slower to move, but Chubb announced a divestment policy in July, and Liberty has confirmed it will not insure Australia's Adani project.


Other big firms such as America's AIG are coming under increasing pressure.


Even more than divestment of coal shares by banks and managed funds, the withdrawal of insurance has the potential to make coal mining and coal-fired power generation businesses unsustainable.


As the chairman and founder of Adani Group, Gautam Adani, has shown in Queensland's Galilee Basin, a sufficiently rich developer can use its own resources to finance a coal mine that banks won't touch.


But without insurance, mines can't operate. 


(Adani claims to have insurers for the Carmichael project, but has declined to reveal their names.) 


By the nature of their business, insurers cannot afford to indulge the denialist fantasies still popular in some sectors of industry. 

Damage caused by climate disasters is one of their biggest expenses, and insurers are fully aware that damage is set to rise over time......

Friday, 2 August 2019

Sydney Uni Business School Professor Sandra van der Laan: Adani Group's Australia operations effectively insolvent


Image: BBC, 29.11.18

The Adani Carmichael coal mine set to be built in Queensland’s Galilee Basin has courted controversy like no other project in recent memory. 

Central and northern Queenslanders and MPs alike have lauded the jobs and economic stimulus the project promises to provide. Elsewhere, others scratched their heads as to why the country needed to build a brand new coal mine right next to the iconic Great Barrier Reef. At the same time that Australia tries to meet its Paris climate targets, no less.


KEY POINTS
Adani’s Australian operations could be on the brink of collapse before its Carmichael coalmine is ever built, a forensic accountant has claimed to the ABC.
Professor Sandra van der Laan examined the limited publicly-available financial statements from the private company and concluded that the company was in “a very fragile, even perilous, financial position”.
Adani was quick to reject the claims, slamming them as “false and misleading” and the latest in a series of attacks aimed to destroy the Australian project.

The Adani Carmichael coal mine set to be built in Queensland’s Galilee Basin has courted controversy like no other project in recent memory.

Despite battling for eight years to be approved, receiving the final environmental green light last month, the project finally looked to be going ahead. 

But now, a forensic accountant has warned that the divisive Adani Carmichael coal mine could be on the brink of collapse before it even begins operation. 


University of Sydney Professor Sandra van der Laan has sounded the alarm on the project after analysing Adani’s financial standing.


“It looks to me like a corporate collapse waiting to happen,” she told the ABC. “It has all the hallmarks of the big corporate failures we’ve seen over the last 20 to 30 years.” 

She should know — van der Laan has a track record of picking corporate collapses. It was she and colleague Sue Newberry who warned in 2007 that ABC Learning, Australia’s biggest private childcare provider at the time and the world’s largest publically listed childcare company, was heading for disaster.....


“Adani Mining is in a very fragile, even perilous, financial position,” van der Laan told the ABC. “The gap between the current assets and liabilities is what’s really concerning.” 


According to Adani’s most recent financial statements, provided to the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) in March this year, that gap is enormous. The ABC reports that the business’ liabilities exceed its assets by more than half a billion dollars. 


Moreover, the ABC reports that the company will have $1.8 billion in liabilities come due over the next 12 months, compared with just $30 million in assets. Those liabilities are largely made up by an internal loan from parent company Adani Global on which the van der Laan says the Australian operation is reliant. That’s because the Australian mine was forced to self-fund after banks and wealth funds turned their back on it


“Effectively on paper, they are insolvent,” van der Laan said. "I wouldn’t be trading with them, as simple as that. I wouldn’t have anything to do with them."....