Guide for making a public comment about Whitehaven Coal’s Narrabri coal mine.

17.11.22 By
This content is more than one year old

Australian Federal Environment Minister, Tanya Plibersek, has announced that she will reconsider the climate impacts from 18 new coal and gas projects.

Many organisations from across the climate and environment movement are banding together to make sure each and every one of these projects is flooded with public comments, and here at the Climate Council, we’re mobilising our community to focus on and fight back against the Whitehaven Narrabri Coal Mine expansion.

Under Australia’s main environment law, the Environmental Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act (EPBC), certain fossil fuel projects have to be assessed to make sure they don’t negatively impact protected – or ‘nationally significant’ – animals, places or plants. 

But until now, this process hasn’t taken into account the climate impacts of the carbon emissions these projects produce. 

Through the Living Wonders campaign, Environmental Justice Australia, on behalf of the Environment Council of Central Queensland, have been pushing for Minister Plibersek to reconsider these projects based on climate science and now, public comments have been reopened on 18 new fossil fuel projects until Thursday, November 24.

This means we have a critical window to raise our voices and stop the Whitehaven Narrabri Coal Mine expansion in its tracks. 

Watch this video to find out more about the Living Wonders campaign, then download the step-by-step guide to making your public comment against Whitehaven Coal’s Narrabri coal mine.

About Whitehaven Coal’s Narrabri coal mine expansion

Whitehaven Coal proposes to extend underground mining operations at the existing Narrabri mine to dig an additional 82 million tonnes of coal fuelling approximately 259 million tonnes of carbon emissions.

The location: Approximately 25 km south east of Narrabri and approximately 60 km north west of Gunnedah, within the Narrabri Shire Council.

The company: The Narrabri Mine is operated by Narrabri Coal Operations Pty Ltd, on behalf of the Narrabri Mine Joint Venture, which includes Whitehaven Coal Limited’s wholly owned subsidiary Narrabri Coal Pty Ltd.

Their proposal: To extend the approved underground mining area and gain access to additional coal reserves which would increase the mine life to 2044, an additional 13 years. The Proposed Project will involve the extraction of an additional approximately 82 million tonnes of coal, an increase from 170 to 252 million tonnes.

The legal challenge: Environmental Justice Australia lawyers, on behalf of their client Environment Centre of Central Queensland (ECoCeQ), submitted a reconsideration request to The Minister for the Environment, Tanya Plibersek, asking her to reconsider the first stage of the assessment of Whitehaven Coal’s Narrabri coal expansion proposal. Read more about this legal intervention.

What’s happening now: The Minister must consider significant new information and account for the detrimental effect of climate change on several thousand matters of environmental significance. Right now, she is inviting public comments on this decision.

How to make a public comment on Whitehaven Coal’s Narrabri coal mine plans

This is one of the biggest legal interventions on climate in Australian history. To make this challenge successful, we have to urge Minister Plibersek to consider ‘substantial new information’ (i.e. the climate science that has previously been ignored) and account for the detrimental effect climate change will have on thousands of matters of national environmental significance.  

Your voice matters! Minister Plibersek is legally required to consider every comment she receives, so here’s what we need you to do: 

Making a comment takes just a few minutes and is just 7 steps!

A step-by-step guide to making your comment

Start by opening the government’s website in a new window, by clicking here.

We suggest you draft your public comment on your computer in a Word document, then copy it onto the government webpage.

You can re-use your answers for all 18 projects – just copy and paste your answers onto each project’s comment page.

1. Fill in your details.

2. The “substantial new information” box – tick YES

3. Provide reasons for your answer or comments

4. The “substantial change in circumstances” box – tick NO

5. Add reasons or comments – write N/A

6. Add any other comments

7. Final steps: Confidentiality and privacy

8. Lucky last, click “Submit your comment!”

And you’re done!

Thanks so much for registering your concerns with this project – and for speaking up for our climate, our communities and our living wonders.

Now write another public comment! It’s much easier the second time round – we promise! Until Thursday 24 November, the Minister is accepting public comments about the environmental impact of 18 coal and gas proposals.