Home NewsAustralia Resources Minister not required to consider climate change when awarding gas grant, lawyers argue

Resources Minister not required to consider climate change when awarding gas grant, lawyers argue

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Attorneys for the federal authorities are arguing the Sources Minister was not required to think about the dangers of local weather change underneath laws associated to $21 million in grants lately awarded to a fuel firm.

The $21 million was handed to Imperial Oil and Fuel to fund three exploration wells within the gas-rich Beetaloo Basin, south of Darwin.

Environmentalists spent yesterday difficult the grants within the Federal Court docket, arguing they’re invalid as a result of Minister Keith Pitt failed to think about the dangers of local weather change, which they mentioned was required.

One challenge within the case is whether or not the minister was required to think about these dangers as a part of his “affordable enquiries” when awarding the subsidies.

The minister’s attorneys have right this moment argued the minister solely wanted to be happy his enquiries had been affordable — in different phrases, it’s a subjective measure and never an goal one.

Tom Howe QC, performing for Mr Pitt, advised the second day of hearings that broadening the required enquiries to incorporate points akin to local weather change would place “a unprecedented and certainly an insupportable burden of decision-making upon the minister”.

“The minister has to make enquiries after which, relying on the result of these, has to run completely different bunnies into varied burrows to establish whether or not one thing’s related, in response to the applicant,” he mentioned.

Federal Resources Minister Keith Pitt wears glasses at a press conference in Darwin.
Sources Minister Keith Pitt is standing by his choice to grant the funds.(ABC Information: Felicity James)

Mr Howe additionally mentioned the legislative clause the environmentalists yesterday relied on to argue the grants weren’t a correct use of public cash, known as part 71, relates solely to the funding of coverage decisions and never the deserves of underlying coverage choices.

“One doesn’t apply part 71 as an ecological or environmental Computer virus obliging ministers in all kinds of contexts to have regard to issues which go to the desirability of an alternate coverage selection,” he mentioned.

Mr Howe additionally rejected the argument that no consideration in any way was paid to local weather dangers, as a result of compliance with emissions reductions expectations was a part of eligibility for the grant program.

“We settle for there was no detailed inquiry made by the minister of any type in response to the fabric he was briefed with,” Mr Howe mentioned.

“We do resist the suggestion that local weather dangers performed completely no half in any respect within the universe of fabric that was supplied to the minister.”

Justice John Griffiths right this moment took challenge with the truth that a bit of case regulation relied upon by Mr Howe was solely dropped at the plaintiff’s consideration within the days earlier than the listening to, regardless of the involvement of one among Mr Howe’s colleagues within the case. 

“My concern is one among equity to the applicant on this case,” he mentioned.

Justice Griffiths mentioned the applicant can be requested whether or not they had sufficient time to think about the case and, if not, they might be requested in the event that they wished so as to add written submissions associated to the ruling given the “prominence it is now acquired in [Mr Pitt’s] case”.

The listening to will proceed into the afternoon.

The ECNT has labelled their lawsuit a landmark case due to the extent of scrutiny utilized to authorities subsidies of the fossil gasoline trade.

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