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Galilee Basin (Coal Prohibition) Bill 2018

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2016-2017-2018

 

 

 

 

 

THE PARLIAMENT OF THE COMMONWEALTH OF AUSTRALIA

 

 

 

 

 

THE SENATE

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

GALILEE BASIN (COAL PROHIBITION) BILL 2018

 

 

 

 

 

 

EXPLANATORY MEMORANDUM

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

(Circulated by the authority of Senator Waters)

 

 



 

GALILEE BASIN (COAL PROHIBITION) BILL 2018

 

GENERAL OUTLINE: POLICY RATIONALE

 

This Bill would prohibit the mining of thermal coal from 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 including those by companies controlled by Clive Palmer and Gina Rinehart.

 

NOTES ON CLAUSES

 

Clause 1 - Short title

This clause provides for the Bill, when enacted, to be cited as the Galilee Basin (Coal Prohibition) Act 2018 .

 

Clause 2 - Commencement

This clause provides for the proposed 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.

 

It also clarifies that while it is not expected that any compulsory acquisition would occur, given the nature of this prohibition being regulatory and not an acquisition, the operation of ‘just terms’ under section 51(xxxi) of the Constitution applies to the operation of this proposed Act.

 

Clause 5

Definitions in clause 5 outline the relevant boundaries where the prohibition applies and defines thermal coal and the relevant mining operations, using the existing definition in section 355(2) of the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 .

 

Clause 6

This final clause of the bill sets down 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 2018

 

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 the further damage on 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:

This Bill is compatible with human rights.