21 January 2019

The Threatened Species Recovery Hub has rejected reports by the Courier-Mail media outlet that the Hub is an anti-coal activist group and is involved in a review of Adani coal mine environmental plans.

Hub Director Professor Brendan Wintle said the claim that the Hub, based at The University of Queensland, was conducting a review of the Adani plans was totally false.

“It is essential to set the record straight, which is why the Hub has written to the Courier-Mail and other outlets that have picked up the story to request a retraction and correction.

"It has also contacted the Press Council,” he said.

“The Threatened Species Recovery Hub is not involved in the Adani environmental management review, and has nothing to do with coal research or activism.

“I have been engaged as a University of Melbourne expert by the Queensland Government to lead the review of Adani’s southern black throated finch management plan, due to my expertise in the area of threatened species conservation planning,” Dr Wintle said.

“The research Hub – which comprises researchers from 10 Australian universities and the Australian Wildlife Conservancy – is part of the Australian Government-funded National Environmental Science Program.

“It is a national initiative to undertake research to prevent extinctions and aid the recovery of Australia’s most threatened species.

“We collaborate with more than 200 partners across the country, such as landcare groups, national park managers, Indigenous land managers and government agencies, to ensure our work is practical and targeted to the most pressing needs.

“More than 150 independent scientists from many organisations collaborate on Hub projects, many of whom have simultaneous projects which receive funding from multiple sources.

“The Threatened Species Recovery Hub is not involved in the Adani environmental management review.

“I will convene a review panel and the composition of the panel is close to finalised.

"However, the five other scientists named by the Courier-Mail, including UQ researchers Associate Professor Rod Fensham and Professor James Watson, are not involved in the review.

“I’m dismayed at this attempt to tarnish the hub and its researchers.”

Media: Jaana Dielenberg, TSR Hub Communication Manager, j.dielenberg@uq.edu.au, 0413 585 709.