Tanya Plibersek urged to block ‘climate-wrecking’ Queensland coalmine that would raze koala habitat

The Queensland government approved the Vulcan South coalmine in the Bowen Basin earlier this month without requiring an environmental impact statement (EIS).

But the project still needs approval from the federal environment minister, Tanya Plibersek, to go ahead.

If Vitrinite is granted final approval for the mine, the company will be licensed to clear 770 hectares of koala habitat, 39 hectares of greater glider habitat, 36 hectares of vulnerable glossy black cockatoo habitat, and 1,024 hectares of vulnerable squatter pigeon habitat.

The federal government listed the koala as endangered in 2022 after a decline in its numbers sparked by land clearing and bushfires. More than 90,000 hectares of Queensland koala habitat was cleared in a single year for beef production, according to 2022 data.

The mine is one of several applications that has been able to sidestep the EIS requirement as it is under the two million tonne annual threshold.