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Galilee Basin (Coal Prohibition) Bill 2019

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2016-2017-2018-2019

 

 

 

THE PARLIAMENT OF THE COMMONWEALTH OF AUSTRALIA

 

 

 

HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Galilee Basin (Coal Prohibition) Bill 2019

 

 

 

EXPLANATORY MEMORANDUM

and

STATEMENT OF COMPATIBILITY WITH HUMAN RIGHTS

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Circulated by authority of

Adam Bandt MP



Galilee Basin (Coal Prohibition) Bill 2019

 

 

OUTLINE

 

This Bill would prohibit the mining of thermal coal in the Galilee Basin in Queensland.

 

With the rapidly increasing concentration of greenhouse gases in our oceans and atmosphere, opening up new coal basins is a dangerous and irresponsible threat to the safety and wellbeing of current and future generations.

 

Therefore this Bill would prohibit constitutional corporations within the meaning of section 51(xx) of the Constitution from mining for thermal coal within the Galilee Basin.

 

This Bill would have the effect of ensuring Adani’s Carmichael coal mine could not proceed, nor could any other coal mine proposed for the Galilee Basin.

 

FINANCIAL IMPACT

 

The bill will have no financial impact.

 

NOTES ON CLAUSES

 

Clause 1: Short title

 

This clause provides for the Bill to be cited as the Galilee Basin (Coal Prohibition) Bill 2019.

 

Clause 2: Commencement

 

This clause provides for the whole of the Act to commence on the day after it receives the Royal Assent.

 

Clause 3: Outline

 

This clause specifies the simplified outline of the proposed Act, that mining of thermal coal in the Galilee Basin in Queensland is prohibited.

 

Clause 4: Application of the Act

 

This clause makes it clear that this proposed law is to have effect irrespective of any other operating law or any permit, title or instrument issued under any other operating law. To the extent of any inconsistency, this proposed law will prevail.

 

The Act does not apply to the extent that it results in an acquisition of property otherwise than on just terms within the meaning of paragraph 51 (xxxi) of the constitution.

 

Clause 5: Definitions

 

Definitions in clause 5 outline the relevant boundaries where the prohibition applies to be the Galilee subregion in western central Queensland identified by the Australian Government’s Bioregional Assessment Program map for the Galilee subregion, dated June 2018.

 

The clause defines thermal coal as coal used primarily for the generation of electricity. The relevant mining operations use the existing definition in section 355(2) of the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999.

 

Clause 6: Prohibition on mining of thermal coal in the Galilee Basin

 

This clause determines that the carrying out of mining operations for thermal coal in the Galilee Basin is a strict liability offence with a penalty of two years imprisonment, 1000 penalty units or both. This penalty level replicates the provision in the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 for mining in a Commonwealth reserve.

 

STATEMENT OF COMPATIBILITY WITH HUMAN RIGHTS

 

Prepared in accordance with Part 3 of the Human Rights (Parliamentary Scrutiny) Act 2011

 

 Galilee Basin (Coal Prohibition) Bill 2019

 

This bill is compatible with the human rights and freedoms recognised or declared in the international instruments listed in section 3 of the Human Rights (Parliamentary Scrutiny) Act 2011 .

 

Overview of the bill

 

This Bill prohibits the mining of thermal coal from the Galilee Basin in Queensland.

 

Human rights implications

 

By preventing further damage to the environment, this bill protects and strengthens the human rights of Australians.

 

The mining of coal within the prohibited area is a strict liability and prima facie raises concerns of human rights implications as it removes the need for a prosecution to prove intent or fault in the defendant.

 

However the burden of proving intent or fault is an unnecessary requirement when proving the facts of the carrying on of a mining operation within the proscribed area is enough to show that an offence has clearly been committed.

 

Given there is very little scope to mistakenly mine for coal in the prohibited region, a strict liability offence can reasonably be applied to these circumstances in a way that does not inadvertently affect the activities and enjoyment of the general population.

 

Conclusion

 

The Bill is compatible with human rights.

 

 

Adam Bandt MP