Australia’s ‘cleaner coal’ is a systematic export scam, Andrew Wilkie to tell parliament
“What you would see is a replacement with coal from other countries that’s likely to produce higher emissions because of the quality of our product,” he said
A statement on the Australian Minerals Council website from last year says one of the qualities of Australian thermal coal that gives it a competitive edge is “superior combustion properties and boiler efficiency because of lower moisture”.
Wilkie is expected to tell parliament that coal companies in Australia “are knowingly using fraudulent quality reports for their exports”.
“This has allowed them to falsely claim, for years, that Australian coal is cleaner than coal from elsewhere, even though it’s often simply not true. This shocking misconduct includes exports to Japan, South Korea, China and India,” his draft speech says.
Some of the allegations pertain to the company ALS, revealed by The Australian Financial Review in 2020.
Earlier this year, the company admitted to the stock market that between 45 and 50 per cent of its certificates had been “manually amended without justification” for almost 13 years.
“This is a very serious breach of the ethical standards we expect from everyone who works for ALS,” the company’s chief executive Raj Naran said at the time, the AFR reported.
However, last week the Australian Securities and Investments Commission decided against taking any action against ALS.
ALS had made its report to the stock market after completing an internal investigation sparked by litigation by a former executive at mining company Terracom, who alleged his old company and ALS were involved in doctoring coal certificates.
Terracom and ALS were approached for comment over the weekend.
Wilkie is expected to claim another major testing firm is involved, as well as major financial institutions.
He also alleges that despite being presented with evidence about systematic wrongdoing, the Australian Federal Police, the NSW Police, the Department of Industry, Science, Energy and Resources, and the former federal government failed to act.
“So far no authority, not one, has been willing to act on this alleged criminal behaviour despite the fact that select evidence has already been presented in Australian courts, proving what this whistleblower says is true,” Wilkie’s draft speech says.
“So this time, please, let’s ditch the game-playing and go straight to an inquiry so the industry can be held accountable for its sins, and so Australia can restore its reputation as an honest trading partner.
“And, most importantly, so we can learn just how dirty the world is and how much more urgent our response to climate change must be”.
He will also call for stronger whistleblower protection.
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