NSW Minerals Council Gets it Wrong on Carmichael Coal Case

By EDO NSW Executive Director Jeff Smith

27 January 2015

As Australians prepared to head off for the long weekend, the NSW Minerals Council reignited its campaign against EDO NSW.

It attacked EDO NSW for representing Mackay Conservation Group in court proceedings against the Australian Environment Minister and mining company Adani Mining Pty Ltd over the federal approval of the Carmichael coal mine in Queensland.

In particular, the NSW Minerals Council claimed that, as reported in the Daily Telegraph (23 January), EDO NSW is using NSW ‘taxpayers funds’ to run this case.

These claims are plainly wrong.

EDO NSW has not, and will not, use taxpayers money on the Carmichael mine case. Rather, this Federal Court case is being run from community funds and private donations, which make up a significant proportion of our funding.

A cursory glance at our 2013-14 Annual Report for last year would have made clear our funding position.

The Annual Report shows that recurrent NSW government funding was $221,885 or around 7% of our income. The Public Purpose Fund, which is a statutory fund administered by the NSW Law Society, granted us $1.2 million or just under 40% of our income. This year paints a similar story, with a Public Purpose Fund grant of $750,000. These funds are spent on public interest environmental law matters in NSW. Again, this information was available in our Annual Report.

Community contributions and donations accounted for 27% of our income last year, and is projected to be slightly more this year. These funds allow us to support communities who need our help and representation to protect the environment through law.

There were a number of other errors in the Daily Telegraph article. These errors were addressed in a letter to the Editor (unpublished).

EDO NSW has a proud history of running important and high quality public interest cases to protect the environment. We see our involvement in the Carmichael coal mine case as a clear embodiment of that resolve.