Anvil Hill Case

This case study provides an example of litigation in the Federal Court of Australia concerning a large coal mine in New South Wales, known as the Anvil Hill Project or Anvil Hill coal mine.

The greenhouse gas emissions from the Anvil Hill Project were also the subject of litigation in the New South Wales Land and Environment Court, resulting in the decision in Gray v Minister for Planning [2006] NSWLEC 720. The case study considered here involves a different case about the same project.

The case considered here involved a judicial review application by a community group, the Anvil Hill Project Watch Association Inc (AHPWA), against a decision under the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 (Cth) that the Anvil Hill Project is not a controlled action under the  Act.

The trial judge, Stone J, dismissed the application. Her Honour held:

  • the delegate's approach to determining whether greenhouse gases from the coal mine would have a significant impact on a matter protected under the Act contained no legal error;
  • the delegate's approach to determing whether a listed threatened ecological community existed on the site contained no legal error; &
  • the Minister's decision under section 75 of the EPBC Act does not involve a jurisdictional fact.

The Full Court dismissed an appeal against the second and third of these findings.

Key documents in the case are:

  • Decision that the Anvil Hill Project is not a controlled action.
  • Affidavit filed on behalf of AHPWA regarding standing.



Anvil Hill, NSW

Photo courtesy of Anvil Hill Alliance