Australia chooses the Great Barrier Reef over a coal mine

In a first-of-its-kind move, Australia has rejected a proposed coal mine due to the threat it poses to the environment. This coal mine would have been only 10km from the Great Barrier Reef, and the public was overwhelmingly opposed to its construction.

Ms Plibersek's decision is the first time in Australian history that a coal mine has been refused under national environmental laws.

The planned mining site was just 10 kilometres from the edge of the Great Barrier Reef world heritage area near Rockhampton.

"I have decided not to approve the Central Queensland Coal Project because the risks to the Great Barrier Reef, freshwater creeks and groundwater are too great," Ms Plibersek said in a statement.

"Freshwater creeks run into the Great Barrier Reef and onto seagrass meadows that feed dugongs and provide breeding grounds for fish."