Waratah Coal v Youth Verdict court case

Economic evidence and judgement
by Rod Campbell and Andrew Tessler

The Australia Institute’s Research Director Rod Campbell was an expert witness in the precedent-setting case against Clive Palmer’s Waratah Coal Project in the Galilee Basin. The case was brought by Indigenous-led Queensland group Youth Verdict, who were represented by the Environmental Defenders’ Office (EDO).

Rod prepared this joint-expert report with Andrew Tessler from BIS Oxford Economics. It covers:

  • Whether the economic benefits of the mine outweighed its costs – Rod argued that the benefits of the mine did not outweigh its costs.
  • Whether economic assessment documents had overstated the benefits of the mine – Rod argued that they had.
  • The viability of the mine – Rod argued that it was not likely to be viable based on its ten years of limited progress.
  • Economic values that could be attached to the Bimblebox Nature Refuge – Rod argued that these had been poorly assessed.
  • Climate impacts of the project in economic assessment – Rod argued that these had been understated, particularly in Mr Tessler’s cost benefit analysis.

The judgement largely accepted Rod’s evidence, finding “In conclusion, after considering all the evidence, I could not find as a fact that the economic and social benefits outweigh the ecological and climate change costs of the Project.”

Full report