Footy in Queensland reaping the benefits of a season as the AFL’s home


The sight of hundreds of schoolchildren in the Brisbane City Botanic Gardens would not normally be cause for celebration.

After all, it is a beautifully landscaped garden setting with plenty of open space ideal for children to run around in.

But for the AFL, the yelling, screaming and laughing mass was evidence of just how far Australian football has come in its northern outpost.

As part of AFL grand final week, the Botanic Gardens has hosted a Footy Festival site featuring multiple Auskick clinics.

The Festival runs for three days and registration numbers have been so strong, three more clinics have been added to meet demand on Saturday.

It only gets better for Australian football.

AFL Queensland (AFLQ) has reported participants at Auskick centres across the state are up 10-15 per cent, and that is with a significant number of the more than 900 centres unable to operate in the early part of the season because of COVID restrictions.

The growth in junior numbers has defied the bleak outlook when the coronavirus pandemic first hit in early autumn.

AFLQ kids from Alexandra Hills Bombers and Morningside Panthers chase the ball.(Highflyer Images: Deion Menzies)

“We now have 13,000 juniors, and that’s the biggest competition in the country,” AFLQ state manager of game development Mark Ensor said.

“And across the state we’re up 3 per cent on female numbers.”

He cited two contributing factors to the overall rise in playing stocks.

Firstly, the success of the Brisbane Lions in 2020 — the Lions only dropped out of the premiership race with a preliminary final loss to Geelong.

Secondly, of course, was the COVID-enforced relocation of Victorian clubs to the Sunshine State.

A back view of a modern flood light at a sports stadium on a dark night.
The Gabba will host the 2020 AFL grand final.(ABC News: Christopher Gillette)

“Playing 140-odd AFL matches in Queensland has made us incredibly happy with the year,” Ensor said.

“We’re expecting a 7-10 per cent increase in participation next year if we don’t have any COVID problems.”

Female participation on the up

Former SANFL player David Sanders has witnessed the game’s growth in Queensland from close quarters.

Sanders, who played 305 SANFL games for North Adelaide, has lived in Brisbane for 25 years and his son Van,13, plays for Wilston-Grange.

“As a parent, it’s hard to quantify the increase given it’s been such a different year with COVID,” Sanders said.

The Gorillas are a small club in an inner suburb but have about 400 junior players, around 25 per cent of whom are female.

“There’s no doubt the AFL being largely resident in Queensland has increased the interest for kids,” Sanders observed.

“One thing the AFL has done is show a lot of parents what the game is about and get them thinking it’s not bad for kids.”

A junior Aussie rules player gets a kick off as another player gives chase in the rain.
A Morningside Panthers junior Aussie rules player kicks a ball while being chased by an Alexandra Hills Bombers kid.(Highflyer Images: Deion Menzies)

Television ratings firmly indicate the attraction of the game with free-to-air numbers up 25 per cent this year.

Despite finishing outside the top eight, the Gold Coast Suns television audience grew 84 per cent and club membership jumped 16 per cent.

Matthew Argus, the football operations coordinator for the Aspley Hornets, a club on the northside of Brisbane, said his AFL 9s program was a good indicator of how the sport has grown.

AFL 9s is a non-contact hybrid version of the sport, similar to the relationship between touch football and rugby league.

“We’ve gone from 12 teams to 18 signed up to play across the summer and the openings filled up within a week of registrations being opened,” Argus said.

Women’s football is also on the move, aided by the establishment of the AFLW competition as well as the presence of so many AFL clubs in the south-east corner of the state across the past few months.

“The growth in girls playing juniors has been excellent in the last three or four years and now girls make up 25 per cent of our players,” Argus said.

A young Brisbane Lions fan waves a flag as he smiles in the stands at the Gabba next to two adults.
Brisbane has been treated to more AFL footy this year than ever.(AAP: Darren England)

He said he was confident the club’s presence in schools would grow once the coronavirus crisis ended.

“It would’ve been great if you could have the AFL here and you could go helter-skelter with schoolkids,” he said.

AFL chief executive Gillon McLachlan, who championed the establishment of the AFL and has been an important part of driving the competition’s expansion north of the Murray River, was clearly happy to talk about the progression of the code in Queensland when he launched grand final week.

“I’m not saying we’re the number one sport now in Queensland but it’s certainly nice to be in the conversation,” McLachlan commented with a smile.

When the AFL caravan closes down after the grand final and moves back to Melbourne, it will leave a legacy and it is increasingly likely it will be a large and growing one.

No wonder it is celebrating.



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Decision on Queensland borders within days


Flight Centre boss Graham Turner is awaiting for a Right To Information application on Queenlaand Health border decisions. Picture: Liam Kidston.

A decision on border restrictions will be made just days before Queenslanders head to the polls as two new coronavirus cases were recorded, both linked to a Liberian-flagged container ship off the Sunshine Coast.

Deputy Premier Steven Miles said he expected people to know “sometime next week” whether the state will fully reopen to NSW although Victoria is not on the agenda.

Deputy Premier Steven Miles says a decision easing border restrictions is likely to be announced in the middle of next week, just a few days ahead of the October 31 state election. Picture: Jono Searle/Getty Images
Deputy Premier Steven Miles says a decision easing border restrictions is likely to be announced in the middle of next week, just a few days ahead of the October 31 state election. Picture: Jono Searle/Getty Images

Queenslanders head to the polls on October 31 with Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk seeking a third straight term in office.

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“We’ll try to give Queenslanders as much notice as we possibly can before that, before that deadline,” Mr Miles told reporters in Rockhampton Friday.

“It’s likely to be sometime next week next week depending on when information comes to hand.”

He said reopening the state to Victoria was not even on their “roadmap” to recovery.

“The case numbers at the moment, in Victoria and in Melbourne, are very large,” he said.

“You’ve got to remember that they still have very strict restrictions in place and so it won’t be until they start to lift their restrictions that we can start to assess just what’s just what’s going on there.”

Flight Centre managing director Graham Turner has been waiting four months for a Right To Information application response on reasons behind Queensland Health closing borders that should have been turned around in 25 days. Picture: Liam Kidston
Flight Centre managing director Graham Turner has been waiting four months for a Right To Information application response on reasons behind Queensland Health closing borders that should have been turned around in 25 days. Picture: Liam Kidston

Pressure is mounting on Queensland’s Chief Health Officer Dr Jeannette Young to explain the reasons behind border closures following a Right To Information (RTI) request lodged by Flight Centre boss Graham Turner.

The Courier Mail reports Mr Turner has been waiting more than four months for an RTI application seeking the medical advice underpinning Queensland’s border closures.

The RTI application was lodged on June 9. The legislated turnaround for an application is 25 days.

The RTI documents will be released just a day before the state election after Queensland Health requested extensions to the deadline because of the size of the request and a key personnel change within the department.

Mr Turner told The Courier-Mail that the State Government has been unwilling to provide information that he thought would be readily at hand, because closing the border had apparently been made on health advice.

“The government needs to explain why they cannot give reasons for the border closure which have had and will continue to have devastating impacts on the Queensland economy in particular the tourist and travel industry which provide some one in four jobs in our state.”

Mr Turner’s Flight Centre business has been decimated by domestic and international border closures and he has previously slammed the lockdown as “pure politics”.

Deputy premier Steven Miles says Chief Health Officer Dr Jeannette Young has been outlining why borders have closed ever since the pandemic started. Picture: NCA NewsWire / Jono Searle
Deputy premier Steven Miles says Chief Health Officer Dr Jeannette Young has been outlining why borders have closed ever since the pandemic started. Picture: NCA NewsWire / Jono Searle

Mr Miles said if Mr Turner wanted to know the reasons Dr Young closed the borders he need only re-watch every press conference she has conducted during the pandemic.

“If anyone wants to see for health advice, all they have to do is bring up all of the press conferences that the chief health officer has done, many, many of them, I’ve been at been almost all of them – probably hundreds,” he said

“At everyone, she outlined the health advice. There are no secrets here at all.”

Two crew members on board the Sofrana Surville have tested positive to COVID-19.
Two crew members on board the Sofrana Surville have tested positive to COVID-19.

The news of Mr Turner’s RTI struggle comes as two crew members on board a Liberian-flagged container ship anchored off the Sunshine Coast have been evacuated to a mainland hospital after being diagnosed with a strain of COVID-19 not yet seen in Australia.

The sailors will be recorded as the two new cases in the state’s virus count announced on Friday because they are now in the Sunshine Coast University Hospital.

A third member of the crew had previously recovered from the virus.

All 19 crew members on board the Sofrana Surville were tested on Wednesday off the coast of Mooloolaba after they were stopped from docking at Brisbane.

Queensland Health will conduct genomic testing to determine if is a new strain of coronavirus and share the results with New Zealand scientists as well as experts around the world.

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Fatal levels of nicotine in Queensland vapes


 

Exclusive: Tens of thousands of illegal e-cigarette devices and liquids containing nicotine have been seized by state authorities – and many contain the substance at fatal levels.

Poisons information lines are receiving dozens of calls about nicotine poisoning related to vaping devices and last year a baby died after consuming liquid from an e-cigarette.

Consumption of the products is soaring, undermining gains in tobacco control.

Smoking cessation body QUIT yesterday said it was time for an import ban to be slapped on the products.

While it is legal to sell flavoured e-cigarette liquids that don’t contain nicotine, the sale of liquids or devices that contain nicotine is banned in all states.

 

Police officers raid a Sydney tobacconist in 2019. Picture: AAP

 

Of a test of nearly 1000 samples of liquids used in e-cigarettes, 60 per cent were found to contain it.

Half of these “had a nicotine concentration of more than 2500mg/L, which may be fatal to children or adults”, NSW Health said of its test results.

Parents of teens say suppliers are advertising nicotine containing disposable e-cigarettes on social media and selling them out of car boots at railway stations or offering home delivery.

And a News Corp investigation has found tobacconists in Sydney and Logan, Queensland prepared to supply the devices to our reporters even though it is against the law.

At a vape shop in Logan our reporter was initially shown a range of fruit and non-liquid refills.

But after further inquiries, store workers opened another cabinet containing illegal nicotine products.

A vial of chocolate-flavoured E-Liquid Plus and bubblegum-flavoured HQD Disposable Pod Device, both of which contained nicotine, shown to our reporter at a Logan vape shop.

A vial of chocolate-flavoured E-Liquid Plus and bubblegum-flavoured HQD Disposable Pod Device, both of which contained nicotine, shown to our reporter at a Logan vape shop.

Our reporter was shown a vial of chocolate-flavoured E-Liquid Plus and bubblegum-flavoured HQD Disposable Pod Device, both of which contained nicotine.

At a different Queensland shop, the shopkeeper said he didn’t sell nicotine-based products, but slipped the reporter a piece of paper with a link to a website that would.

New nicotine salt technology used in disposable vaping devices that look like USB sticks or highlighter pens produce no smoke so their use is undetectable by teachers or parents.

State governments are working to crack down on the illegal products.

Queensland Health said in the past two years its compliance officers had visited or responded to complaints, seized nicotine or initiated prosecution against close to 200 retailers.

 

Not enough is being done to enforce a ban on e-cigarettes with nicotine, says QUIT. Picture: Supplied

Not enough is being done to enforce a ban on e-cigarettes with nicotine, says QUIT. Picture: Supplied

 

“Absolutely not enough is being done in Australia to control this,” QUIT director Sarah White said.

“We really need to have (Health) Minister (Greg) Hunt move to put these devices on the import ban list because that will stop some of these really egregious online sellers.”

Royal Australian College of General Practitioners Acting President Associate Professor Ayman Shenouda said “if you choose to vape, you’re gambling with your health”.

“The existing research shows a range of concerning side effects, including nausea, insomnia, coughing and a dry, irritated mouth or throat,” he said.

Originally published as Fatal levels of nicotine in Queensland vapes





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Indian cricket team to quarantine in Sydney after delays with Queensland Health approving coronavirus plan


Cricket Australia (CA) says the Indian touring party will quarantine in Sydney instead of Brisbane.

A spokesman told the ABC the New South Wales Government had approved CA’s biosecurity plan for the Indian team and their families.

The decision follows a drawn-out negotiation with the Queensland Government, which had been considering a similar CA proposal for a month.

When Queensland raised objections earlier this week, CA approached NSW.

The tour is due to begin in mid-November.

After the two-week quarantine, the team will play three one-day internationals, and three T20 internationals against Australia before beginning a four-Test series set down for Adelaide, Melbourne, Sydney and Brisbane.

It is not yet clear where the one-day internationals and T20 internationals will be played, now that the quarantine plans have moved from Queensland to NSW.

The decision follows a comment today from the Queensland Health Minister, Steven Miles, who said it was “quite likely” a member of the Indian cricket team’s touring party could bring coronavirus to the state.

Steven Miles said it was possible a member of the Indian touring party would bring COVID-19 to the state.(ABC News: Chris Gillette)

“These are folk travelling from countries with current outbreaks with large numbers of cases and so the risks are much greater,” Mr Miles said.

“The likelihood that one of them will test positive is much greater and so they don’t just need to work through how quarantine works for them, but also what might happen in the case of a positive case, given that that’s quite likely in fact.”

India has recorded more than 7.5 million cases of COVID-19, according to Johns Hopkins University.



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Queensland border decision still coming before election, Premier says, as LNP unveil after-school care plan


Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk says a decision on the NSW border is still coming this month, as she fends off attacks from out of state over the issue as well as a new in-land highway proposal that the Federal Government says has no funding.

Speaking at the Great Barrier Reef on day 17 of the election campaign, Ms Palaszczuk hit back at NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian after comments that Queensland should pull its weight when it comes to hotel quarantine and returned travellers.

Ms Palaszczuk told the Liberal leader she had “enough of her own internal problems” to deal with, referring to the controversy surrounding her relationship with disgraced former MP Daryl Maguire.

The ongoing tensions between the NSW and Queensland premiers bubbled over again when Ms Palaszczuk was asked if NSW had its coronavirus numbers low enough to allow the border to fully reopen by November 1.

The Queensland Government was expected to make an announcement today on its border status with NSW.

Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk spent day 17 of the election campaign announcing a $40 million boost for the Great Barrier Reef.(ABC News: Rachel Riga)

Earlier, Ms Berejiklian accused Queensland of closing its borders “without reason”.

“I’m not going to be lectured by the Premier of New South Wales,” Ms Palaszczuk said in response.

“What happened to all working together? I mean, that’s what we do — we go into that National Cabinet, and we want to work together.”

Ms Palaszczuk said a decision on the borders would be made before the end of October after consultation with the state’s Chief Health Officer.

The stoush comes as Deputy Prime Minister Michael McCormack labelled Labor’s plans to build an alternative in-land highway from Charters Towers to the NSW border as a “thought bubble”, and said federal funds had already been allocated to other projects.

“There’s already some cooperation happening between the State and Federal Government in relation to [the second Bruce Highway].”

Labor’s plan for an alternative highway comes amid a proposal from Opposition Leader Deb Frecklington to expand the existing Bruce Highway to four lanes in an effort to ease congestion.

“We’ve heard in the past that the Federal Government doesn’t support Queensland,” Ms Palaszczuk said.

“We’ve seen the extra billions of dollars going to Victoria and NSW … I am simply asking for our fair share.”

LNP unveils $80m after-school care plan

As Ms Palaszczuk announced a $40 million environment and tourism boost for the Great Barrier Reef, Opposition Leader Deb Frecklington unveiled an $80 million proposal to expand before-and-after school care in state primary schools.

Deb Frecklington smiles while visiting children at an early education centre during the Queensland election campaign.
LNP leader Deb Frecklington says the $80 million boost to school care would ease costs on parents.(ABC News: Tim Swanston)

“High costs of care are a major barrier for any parents re-entering the workforce,” Ms Frecklington said, speaking at Tugun on the Gold Coast.

“With long-day centres you have to pay for seven, eight and nine hours, irrespective of the hours that your kids are in care.

“And that is very expensive … I was going to swear then … it is a very expensive process.”

On Wednesday, Ms Frecklington proposed a youth curfew to fight juvenile crime in Cairns and Townsville.

The proposal attracted widespread criticism from human rights groups and Indigenous activists.

It comes amid confirmation the two leaders will face off on the eve of election day in a debate to be held at the Queensland Media Club and broadcasted on Sky News.

With nine days to go before election day, Ms Palaszczuk lamented that she would not enjoy the attractions of Fitzroy Island before taking a 45-minute boat ride back to Cairns.

“Not today,” Ms Palaszczuk said when asked if she planned to go snorkelling or swimming at the Barrier Reef.

“I don’t think people need to see me in a swimsuit at this stage of the campaign.”



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Melbourne Storm v Penrith Panthers, Brandon Smith, North Queensland Cowboys, Viliame Kikau


Brandon Smith is aiming for his first premiership on Sunday when the Storm face off against the Panthers.

What makes it special for Smith is that he’ll be coming up against one of his closest friends when Melbourne aim to see off Penrith.

Panthers back-rower Viliame Kikau and Smith were part of the same Cowboys side on their journey to first grade.

Catch Fox League’s Grand Final Week coverage on Kayo. Stream all the latest news and insight right up until kick off plus halftime and full-time analysis from the Fox League commentary team. New to Kayo? Get your 14-day free trial & start streaming instantly >

While North Queensland have gone three years without playing finals football, the nuggety Kiwi couldn’t resist a cheeky sledge at his old club.

“Yeah, the Cowboys messed that up selling both of us!” he told Mark Geyer on Triple M.

“That was a bit of an upset.

“But yeah we are good mates, he (Kikau) was a really good player to play with he scored 26 tries in one season.

“I was the hooker feeding him the tries and it was a pleasure to watch.”

Asked about leaving the Cowboys further, he added: “Yeah, stuff ‘em.”

Smith was otherwise in fine form ahead of Sunday’s clash.

The New Zealand international was praised by Geyer for his playing style, to which Smith replied: “Thank you very much I appreciate it coming from you. It’s an honour, to hear that coming out of your mouth. I kind of replicated my game on you, being a lunatic a bit.”

Geyer laughed: “You know if you’re a lunatic, you might get a job in radio?”

Smith hit back: “Does it pay well? Because there’s not a lot going on upstairs, I don’t think I’ve got a future in footy.”

Smith said he had been enjoying life in the bubble which is set to come to an end come Sunday evening.

“The life I live in Melbourne isn’t too flash,” he added. “It’s always cold there, you want to stay in the warm.

“Being in the bubble I’ve got to hang around the boys a lot. I love being around the boys having fun with my mates, playing cards, video games.

“It’s detrimental for my missus. She never gets to see me.

“When the boys are available I have to go see them, I think I’ve played card six hours a day, p***ed a lot of people off and talked a lot of smack.

“To know what Victoria is going through it’s been pleasurable living on the Sunny Coast. The bubble life has been really good for me.”

Smith also confirmed that his correct nickname was the ‘Block of Cheese’, not the ‘Wombat’.



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NRL 2020: Melbourne Storm v Penrith Panthers, Brandon Smith, North Queensland Cowboys, Viliame Kikau


Brandon Smith is aiming for his first premiership on Sunday when the Storm face off against the Panthers.

What makes it special for Smith is that he’ll be coming up against one of his closest friends when Melbourne aim to see off Penrith.

Panthers back-rower Viliame Kikau and Smith were part of the same Cowboys side on their journey to first grade.

Catch Fox League’s Grand Final Week coverage on Kayo. Stream all the latest news and insight right up until kick off plus halftime and full-time analysis from the Fox League commentary team. New to Kayo? Get your 14-day free trial & start streaming instantly >

Grand Final

While North Queensland have gone three years without playing finals football, the nuggety Kiwi couldn’t resist a cheeky sledge at his old club.



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Queensland artists ready to rock AFL grand final


The spirit and sound of Powderfinger will grace the AFL grand final between Geelong and Richmond on Saturday, with These Days and its classic chorus, “These days turned out nothing like I had planned” to be performed by ARIA-nominated Brisbane indie-pop band Cub Sport.

“We are paying homage to a legendary Brisbane band,” co-singer Sam Netterfield said on Thursday.

Cub Sport will perform Powderfinger’s These Days at Saturday’s AFL grand final.Credit: Supplied

His partner, Tim Nelson, who founded the band in 2010, said they had put their own stamp on the song.

“It has a Cub Sport feel to it. We have made it our own,” he said.

“It is a very spiritual version of These Days.”

It will not be the only nod to the past.

A modern interpretation of the famous 1991 Paul Kelly and Kev Carmody song From Little Things Big Things Grow, featuring the voice of late Indigenous elder Vincent Lingiari, will be a special feature.

Tom Busby (left) and Jeremy Marou (second from right) will sing From Little Things Big Things Grow with Thelma Plum (right) and Electric Fields singers Zaachariaha Fielding (second from left) and Michael Ross (crouching).

Tom Busby (left) and Jeremy Marou (second from right) will sing From Little Things Big Things Grow with Thelma Plum (right) and Electric Fields singers Zaachariaha Fielding (second from left) and Michael Ross (crouching).Credit:Tony Moore

The song tells the story of a nine-year strike from 1966 by Aboriginal stockmen, from the Gurindji tribe, who were seeking better wages.

Mr Lingiari became a household name for leading the strike, which ultimately led to land rights for the Gurindji people.

Singer Thelma Plum (Better in Blak), blues-and-roots duo Busby Marou (Sounds of Summer) and Electric Fields singer Zaachariaha Fielding will sing the new arrangement.

“We have actually worked with the Gurindji mob and the Lingiari family to use Vincent Lingiari’s voice within the song,” keyboardist and arranger Michael Ross said.

Gough Whitlam pours sand into the hand of Vincent Lingiari in 1975.

Gough Whitlam pours sand into the hand of Vincent Lingiari in 1975.

“It’s Vincent Lingiari’s story with Gough Whitlam and the pouring of the sand, about the moment of the very famous photo.

“We are actually thrilled that Vincent’s voice, from the other side, will be booming through this stadium and hopefully the audience will sing that incredibly famous chorus.”

Also set to make a boom is Geronimo, the chart-shaking hit from Brisbane’s Sheppard.

Sheppard's George, Amy and Emma at the Gabba.

Sheppard’s George, Amy and Emma at the Gabba.Credit:Tony Moore

Siblings George, Amy and Emma Sheppard were at the Gabba on Thursday, excited that their monster single would echo around the stadium in a few days’ time.

Sydney-based three-piece DMA’s, nominated this year for Best Rock Album for Glow, which peaked at No.2 on the Australian charts, will play their new hit Criminals, then have fun with one of Cher’s big hits.

“A few years back we did a cover of Cher’s Do You Believe which was on Triple J’s Like A Version,” guitarist Johnny Took said.

“It is one of her big songs and whenever we’ve performed it, it went quite well, so we thought when we had the opportunity, like the grand final, we’d have a bit of fun with that.”

Andrew Stockdale, of Wolfmother fame, will bring the rock thump.

“We are going to do Joker and the Thief with the Queensland Symphony Orchestra,” he said.

“[QSO arranger] Chong Lim has done an absolutely awesome job worth the orchestration. It sounds just great, a real Live and Let Die Paul McCartney-type vibe,” he said.

“So I am really looking forward to playing that on Saturday.”

Lim said the arrangement had violins and other strings playing the famous guitar riff.

“The song is just fabulous,” he said. “I’ve made it very Led Zeppelin-esque.”

AFL chief executive Gil McLachlan said he was not worried about forecast rain and was relieved the season, unlike any other, was almost over.

“It’s going to be massive and I hope that for Queenslanders – for those here at the game and for those watching – and for all Australians that are doing it hard, you can sit down for three hours and enjoy the game between two of Australia’s greatest clubs,” he said.

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Queensland teenagers lodge legal action against Adani coal mine to save Great Barrier Reef


Claire Galvin grew up in Cairns and fell in love with the Great Barrier Reef.

“I spent my life snorkelling the reef,” the 19-year-old says.

“Every time we go out to the reef it’s absolutely stunning.”

She’s worried that burning coal from Adani’s Carmichael mine, and the new coal region it’s opening up in Queensland, will threaten the reef’s survival.

“The impacts of the carbon emissions will devastate the reef and we don’t want that to happen,” she said.

Today, Ms Galvin and north Queensland year 12 student Brooklyn O’Hearn are launching a last-ditch attempt to challenge the approval of Adani’s Carmichael mine and railway project.

Claire Galvin (left) and Brooklyn O’Hearn want the Great Barrier Reef to remain a wonder for generations to come.(Supplied: Claire Galvin)

A law firm acting for them has written to Federal Environment Minister Sussan Ley calling for a revocation of the environmental approvals given to Adani’s venture.

A spokesperson for Ms Ley confirmed the minister’s office had received the correspondence and said the minister would consider it in due course.

The letter has argued the previous minister, Greg Hunt, failed to properly assess the implications for climate change and the reef when he approved the venture in 2015 — relying on reports from experts working under strict court rules that require them to give impartial evidence.

“The robust independent scientific evidence” being presented to Ms Ley shows the project “will have a significant impact on the Great Barrier Reef that was not identified in the assessment” according to Ariane Wilkinson of the law firm Environmental Justice Australia.

When he gave it the go-ahead back in 2015, Mr Hunt said he could not form a “robust conclusion” about whether the Adani mine would contribute to global warming and further endanger the Great Barrier Reef, partly because it could not be known whether its output would merely replace coal currently provided by other suppliers.

Claire Galvin as a child
Claire Galvin wants other children to have the chance to snorkel on the reef like she did growing up.(Supplied: Claire Galvin)

This argument is plain wrong, according to Paul Burke, an economist at the Crawford School at Australian National University.

“The ‘substitution effect’ assumption that a large new coal mine will have no implications for emissions is highly implausible,” he said.

“A new coal mine puts additional coal into the market, brings the price down and encourages coal use across the world.”

In his export report, Associate Professor Burke concludes up to half of the coal from the Adani mine would add to, rather than supplant, supply from other mines and that it would also displace lower emissions energy sources such as gas and renewables.

Although Adani’s initial mine will be much smaller, it has approval to extract up to 60 million tonnes of coal a year, which would make it one of the largest mines in the world.

Analysts also believe the railway Adani is building to shift coal to the port will facilitate the development of the proposed China Stone and Hyde Corner projects nearby, with their substantial output further contributing to greenhouse gas emissions.

Climate scientist Bill Hare, who has provided an export report for the challenge, said he was “increasingly outraged at the failure of governments everywhere to consider the overall climate consequences of these kinds of actions”.

The Great Barrier Reef captured by Gary Cranitch the Queensland Museums photographer.
The Great Barrier Reef is at risk of being destroyed by coral bleaching caused by climate change.(Supplied: Queensland Museum, Gary Cranitch)

Since Adani’s venture was given environmental approval, the Great Barrier Reef has suffered a series of mass coral bleaching events caused by rising sea temperatures linked to global warming.

According to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, even if the world achieves its goal under the Paris Agreement of limiting global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels, the world will still suffer a loss of 70 to 90 per cent of reef-building corals.

If temperatures rise by 2 per cent or more above pre-industrial levels, the Great Barrier Reef would be destroyed with 99 per cent of corals being lost.

Professor Hare said burning all the coal approved for mining at Adani’s Queensland site would alone use up 3.3 per cent of the world’s remaining ‘carbon budget’ for limiting warming to 1.5C.

If the two nearby mines also go ahead, this would rise to almost 6 per cent.

Two young woman stand at a marina with their arms crossed on a bright day.
Brooklyn (left) and Claire argue former environment minister Greg Hunt failed to properly assess the implications for the reef when he approved the mine in 2015.(Supplied: Claire Galvin)

“I think the only responsible thing for the Australian Government to do is to review the licenses for these projects and to stop them,” he said.

In central Queensland communities that rely on coal mining jobs, there is extensive support for the Adani mine, but Ms Galvin points out that in the community she grew up on the reef, a World Heritage-listed natural wonder, drives the tourism and underpins the economy.

“Minister Ley has a choice,” she says.

The reality is it’s a long shot — but a teenager can dare to dream.



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