(AAP Image/Lukas Coch)


Originally published in Michael West Media on June 20, 2024

Environment Minister Tanya Plibersek has just approved a new coal seam gas pipeline in Queensland.

The proposal comes from Senex, which is owned by Gina Rinehart’s Hancock Prospecting and Korean energy company Posco.

Gina is, of course, one of Australia’s favourite art critics and readers might remember Posco from controversies like the Hume Coal Project.

Senex’s Atlas to Reedy Creek Pipeline in Queensland aims to ‘service’ new coal seam gas projects out to the year 2064. These include the Atlas Coal Seam Gas (CSG) Project and the Atlas Stage 3 Gas Project, as well as ‘future Senex projects and other third-party projects.’

Senex’s new Atlas gas projects aim to develop up to 113 and 151 new wells respectively. The Atlas CSG project already has the green light – the Environment Department decided it didn’t need to assess the proposal in 2019.

For reasons that aren’t clear, again

For reasons that aren’t clear, the Atlas Stage 3 project does need Federal approval and the Department completed its Final Recommendation report at the end of April.

It must be somewhere on Minister Plibersek’s desk, so expect a decision any day now. Be particularly on the lookout if the Minister starts hugging koalas.

But – spoiler alert – it’s hard to see how it could be anything but an approval. The neighbouring project has been approved, the pipeline has been approved and the Minister recently won a court case enabling her to ignore climate change when assessing coal and gas projects.

Fossil approvals on the rise

The Federal Government has shown no inclination to end new fossil fuel approvals, even though this is what climate action requires. On the contrary, its stated policy is to promote gas expansion through its Future Gas Strategy.

The Future Gas Strategy mentions ‘tax’ precisely zero times and it will shock no one to discover that Senex has not paid tax in any year that the ATO provides data for, despite reporting $1.2 billion in revenue.

The gas industry is leeching off Australia’s resources, environment and taxpayers. Unfortunately, Minister Plibersek doesn’t seem to be reaching for the salt to rid us of these blood suckers.

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