For the past two weeks the Prime Minister and his Environment Minister have been saying the approval process for the Shenhua Mine has been through the most rigorous scientific evaluation in history and the Abbott Government had apparently imposed strict conditions that were without precedence.
Defending his decision, Mr Hunt said the Federal approval is “subject to 18 of the strictest conditions in Australian history”. It had also been subject to four expert reviews and two reviews by the Independent Expert Scientific Committee.
“There will be no impact on the availability of water for agriculture,” Mr Hunt said.
Tony Abbott said that "As all the science tells us, it's not going to have an impact on the water table. And frankly, if it's not going to damage the farming areas, if it is going to bring billions of dollars’ worth of economic activity and hundreds of ongoing jobs, I think we should say 'let's go with it."
But was this assessment based on real science or just “political science”?
Today Minister Hunt is telling us that he is adding yet another process which makes a farce of both his original assurances and the Prime Minister’s echoing statements.
Greg Hunt has form. He visited the Liverpool Plains with Barnaby Joyce just days before the NSW State election to announce that he was “stopping the clock” on the mine approval process. Unsurprisingly, he announced after the election that he was approving the project.
The approval process is revealing more chaos and dysfunction within the Abbott Government. Following the March stunt, farmers and their families are likely to see this latest announcement as no more than a cruel hoax.
THURSDAY, 16 JULY 2015