MINING GIANT SEEKS COSTS FROM ARABUNNA ELDER AFTER RULING ON CHALLENGE TO FEDERAL APPROVAL OF THE OLYMPIC DAM EXPANSION
MEDIA RELEASE FRIDAY 20th APRIL 2012
In a packed courtroom today Justice Besanko dismissed Uncle Kevin Buzzacott’s challenge of the Federal approval of the Olympic Dam expansion. The judge did not discuss his reasons in the court.
Both BHP and the Federal government are seeking costs from Kevin Buzzacott.
The hearing was held in the Federal Court on the 3rd and 4th April, after which the Judge reserved his judgement. Both BHP Billiton and the South Australian government had successfully sought to become parties to the proceedings.
“The speed with which this decision was made suggests pressure to resolve the matter as quickly as possible so as not to impact the project,” said Nectaria Calan of Friends of the Earth Adelaide.
“The judgement is really a product of the constrained nature of such administrative challenges. It really rests on interpretation of two pieces of legislation which govern the Ministers approval. The merits of the project were never on the table for discussion.”
“If such an approval with so many future plans yet to be approved constitutes a proper approval under the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Act, how can such an open-ended project be judicially reviewed?” said Ms Calan.
“The question we are left with is whether the EPBC Act protects the environment,” Ms Calan continued.
“This is a very sad day,” said applicant Kevin Buzzacott. “We offered the judge the issue on a platter, and he wasted an opportunity to make changes that will reverberate in this nation for thousands of years.”
“But we’re not going away. This isn’t over yet,” Mr Buzzacott concluded.
Both Kevin Buzzacott and Nectaria Calan will be available for comment on the details of the ruling early next week once the lengthy judgement has been considered.