SILENCE: The black-throated finch and the groundwater dependant ecosystem plans cause headaches for Adani.
SILENCE: The black-throated finch and the groundwater dependant ecosystem plans cause headaches for Adani. Contributed

Adani boss seeks clarity on two State approval processes

CONCERNS of history repeating itself has Adani Australia CEO Lucas Dow pointing fingers at the State Government over the pending approval of the Groundwater Dependent Ecosystem Management Plan.

Mr Dow compared the new GDEMP process to the Black- Throated Finch Management Plan approval, which remains under consideration of the Department of Environment and Science.

"(The DES) have had a version of the (GDEMP) since October last year, so if they had concerns, I would have thought they would have responded in a timely manner," Mr Dow said.

"In the absence of them coming back, we can only assume they are satisfied with what we have provided."

"But, if they do come back and they do have concerns, my question would be: why has it taken them since October until now to let us know?

"To be frank, it's another example of the State Government shifting the goalpost as they did with the black-throated finch."

Mr Dow said he had sent a letter on April 12, and a follow- up email on April 18, which stated: "we ask again that the department immediately provide us with clarity as to the next steps to apply these principles and the timing of each step to the approval."

Both of which had not received a response.


The DES has provided The Morning Bulletin an update of their approval processes for two of Adani's environmental plans and it would seem a lengthy approvals process could follow.

"While information is still required from Adani on other projects that involve other government agencies (the rail line), two environmental approvals are still required from DES before significant disturbance can commence at the Carmichael mine site," a spokesperson said.

"That includes the Groundwater Dependent Ecosystem Management Plan and the Black-Throated Finch Management Plan.

"There are no statutory time frames for these approvals."

The department also suggested the process was not made any easier by the proponent or the Federal Government.

"DES originally asked the Federal Government for a copy of the CSIRO and GeoScience report of their review into Adani's GDEMP in early March," a spokesperson said.

"DES was provided a copy of this report on Tuesday, April 9. On the same morning, Adani also provided DES a copy of their updated GDEMP.

"As DES was previously assessing an earlier version of the GDEMP (and one which was different from the GDEMP approved by the Commonwealth), the department is now working through the most recent version of the document received last week."

The DES said they would accept the review from CSIRO and Geoscience Australia which they were currently assessing, and confirmed they would not be commissioning an independent review panel like it did for the BTFMP.

"The department has been clear since last year that it would await the outcome of the CSIRO and Geoscience Australia review, which was released last week, before making a decision on the GDEMP," a spokesperson said.

"Given the complex and technical nature of these matters, DES will take the time necessary to assess thoroughly and comprehensively the information received before deciding whether the plan is sufficient in its current form, or whether further information is required from Adani."

As reported previously, the department expressed concerns whether the aquifers of the Doongmabulla Springs had been correctly identified by Adani's management plan.

"While DES continues to examine last week's submissions, based on a preliminary review of the CSIRO and Geoscience Australia report, it is still to be determined if the GDEMP definitively identifies the source aquifers of the Doongmabulla Springs Complex," a spokeserson said.

"This identification has always been a requirement for state approval."

Mr Dow was confident the GDEMP adequately identified the source aquifers, and like the BTFMP, the groundwater plan was formulated in correspondence with the DES.