State-corporate mining: The Carmichael case


University of Tasmania,

The proposed Carmichael Mine will release 79 million tons of carbon dioxide per year and will require the construction of a railway line to ship the coal to the eastern coast, where it would then be transported through (and thus have detrimental effects on) the Great Barrier Reef. The destructive effects on ecosystems caused by intentional human activities such as mining can be studied criminologically. This paper presents initial findings from a project examining the Carmichael case as a state-corporate crime; one in which big business engages in the exploitation of natural resources for private profit, working in collusion with governments (at varied levels) in ways that perpetuate environmental harm. Focusing on one application in the Federal Court of Australia for judicial review of the Commonwealth Environment Minister’s decision to approve the mine under the EPBC Act, it outlines the externalisation of both direct harm and the responsibility for harm. It is proposed that these externalisations of harm, a common feature of state-corporate crimes, can be studied as a contributor to ecocide of the Great Barrier Reef.


Olivia Salama received her BA in political science and philosophy from the University of Scranton, USA in 2014. She was then awarded a Fulbright Fellowship to study the policing of white collar crime in Finland. Olivia is now a PhD candidate at the University of Tasmania, studying state-corporate crime and ecocide as it relates to the Carmichael Coal Mine Project in Queensland.


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