The Queensland government has approved Adani’s plan to protect a rare bird, leaving the company one step away from being able to proceed with its contentious coal mine.
The Department of Environment and Science has finally ticked off on Adani’s plan to safeguard the endangered black-throated finch, which lives on its central Queensland mine site.
The Indian company must now secure one final state approval, on how it will manage groundwater, in order to resume construction of the mine.
That decision is due by June 13.
The most important remaining stronghold for the black-throated finch is in the Galilee basin, and covers land Adani and others intend to mine.
In a statement on Friday, the department said Adani had made additional promises to strengthen its finch management plan.
They include population studies on the mine site, and monitoring systems to track how the bird is doing over time.
“DES is also satisfied that Adani will engage appropriately qualified ecologists to undertake the company’s survey and monitoring work in relation to the black-throated finch,” the department said.
Former Greens leader Bob Brown, who led a Stop Adani convoy to regional Queensland in the lead up to the federal poll, fears the finch is now doomed to extinction.
“The obliteration of the bird’s stronghold in the Galilee Basin is the same as shooting them,” he said in a statement.
Land clearing has left the finch with nowhere to live, with suitable habitat reduced to just 12 per cent of its original range, finch expert Dr April Reside has said.
The approval of the finch management plan follows the premier’s intervention last week, after Labor’s shock defeat at the federal election.
Annastacia Palaszczuk said she was fed up with delays to state approvals, and conceded voters were too, after Labor was thumped in regions that want Adani’s jobs.
She ordered the coordinator-general to sit down with the company and officials from her environment department and agree on approval deadlines.
Adani has vowed to resume the mine’s construction as soon as its groundwater plan is approved.