Anti-Adani protesters gather outside of Bowen Magistrates Court as Adani appeals a Government fine for releasing contaminants at Abbot Point.
Anti-Adani protesters gather outside of Bowen Magistrates Court as Adani appeals a Government fine for releasing contaminants at Abbot Point. CONTRIBUTED

Adani appeals finding, protesters rally outside courthouse

ANTI-ADANI protesters from Bowen, Airlie Beach and Mackay have made themselves heard outside a Bowen court on the first day of an appeal hearing between Adani and the Queensland Government.

Adani appeared before Bowen Magistrates Court over allegations it illegally released eight times the amount of coal-laden water allowed by a temporary emissions licence at its port in Abbot Point during Cyclone Debbie last year.

During the storm the terminal allegedly released 806 millilitres of contaminated water per litre - far exceeding the limit of 100 millilitres per litre.

However, Adani has insisted its not guilty, as indicated by the appeal.

Mackay Conservation Group has stated the case is symptomatic of the risk Adani poses to the wider Queensland environment.

"Adani are unable to manage their environment," according to Peter McCallum, coordinator of the environmental group.

"No person is allowed to let pollutants leave their property and pollute the environment," he said.

The severity of Cyclone Debbie was no excuse, Mr McCallum said, and he added Adani should have been prepared.

"Once every two years a major cyclone goes past Abbot Point," he said.

Mr McCallum said the Government should review licences granted to Adani until the courts decide if it did breach environmental laws at Abbot Point.

"We don't think that they should be given licences to increase the extraction of water in Queensland rivers," he said.

Further, Mr McCallum said Adani's presence "increases the risk to the Great Barrier Reef and the Caley Valley, which is adjacent to Abbot Point".

The case marks the first time Adani has been prosecuted for infringements of the environmental law, Mackay Conservation Group has stated.

If found guilty, the company could face fines of up to $2.7 million for exceeding its temporary emissions licence.

The Department of Environment initially fined Adani $12,190 for an allegedly releasing 800 per cent more contaminated water than its temporary licence allowed in 2017.

But Adani appealed the fine, insisting it was not guilty.

Mackay Conservation Group has stated the Queensland Government waited until two days before the expiry period to prosecute the breach.

The government announced it would contest the appeal last month in September.

Mr McCallum said "we welcome the decision to prosecute, even if it took so long".

This morning's court hearing between the Queensland Government and Adani resulted in an adjournment until December 11.