Don’t Blame Me, I’m Just The Minister For The Environment


It’s impossible to know for sure what goes through the mind of Queensland’s Environment Minister Steven Miles each day, as he jumps on his bicycle and wheels his way to his ministerial office after his morning bowl of organic oats.

But it probably goes something like this….

ENVIRONMENT MINISTER TO HIMSELF: If only I could climb to a position of real power, like environment minister… then I could save the world!

That’s the only thought process that adequately explains the press release Miles put out recently, in which he expresses his apparent disappointment at his complete inability to protect the state’s environment.

For it wasn’t until yesterday, apparently, that Queensland Minister for the Environment, Steven Miles MP was informed one of the most environmentally destructive projects ever to disgrace the nation – Adani’s $16 billion Carmichael Coal Mine – had been approved.

So, you know, he found out the same day as the rest of us.

And that’s what appears to have led Miles to a ‘It wasn’t me’ moment on his Facebook page yesterday, in front of his five and a half thousand followers: “Under Queensland law I had no role in the decision making process.”

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“The decision to issue an environmental authority is not a political one – it is made by the environmental regulator in accordance with applicable legislative provisions,” Miles said.

The ‘environmental regulator’, it just so happens, is his own department, Environment and Heritage Protection. Small government, eh?

Responding to ‘their’ decision to approve Adani’s 60 million tonne per year coal project, and remove a key barrier to its progression, Miles pointed out that there are still plenty more hurdles for the government to jump before the Superdiggers strike coal. Small comfort, eh?

If that happens, Adani will disturb an area more than 10 times the size of the City of Sydney. The Carmichael Mine will give rise to more than 128 million tonnes of carbon emissions each year, according to Greenpeace. And the rail link associated with the mine will pave the ignominious way for further exploitation of the Galilee Basin by other companies, and the expanded transport of coal exports through the Great Barrier Reef.

Notwithstanding his own government’s decision, Miles believes “our future lies in homegrown clean energy”.

“At the Paris climate talks last year the world united for the first time behind the goal of keeping global warming well below two degrees,” he exulted on Facebook.

“As global efforts to reduce carbon pollution increase, the demand for coal will inevitably decrease – but there will continue to be some demand…”

If that happens to be for the largest open-cut coal mine the southern hemisphere has ever seen, well that’s really nothing to do with the Queensland Minister for the Environment….

You can read Steven Miles’ full ‘apology’ below:

Today I was advised by the Director General of the Department of Environment and Heritage Protection that the Department…

Posted by Steven Miles MP on Tuesday, February 2, 2016

Launched in 2004, New Matilda is one of Australia's oldest online independent publications. It's focus is on investigative journalism and analysis, with occasional smart arsery thrown in for reasons of sanity. New Matilda is owned and edited by Walkley Award and Human Rights Award winning journalist Chris Graham.