The Anglican and Catholic bishops of Townsville have issued a joint statement in which they express concern over “projected mega-mining developments" in Queensland and in particular in the Galilee Basin - the location of the proposed Adani coal mine, saying that politics and business have been "slow to provide strong leadership or urgency for the common good" when it comes to environmental issues.

In the statement, issued on the weekend, the Rt Rev William Ray, Anglican Bishop of North Queensland, and the Most Rev Timothy Harris, Catholic Bishop of Townsville, said they had concerns about the "many global and local issues that are impacting negatively on our environment and which require greater dialogue, examination, prayer and action" and cited a line from Pope Francis' 2015 landmark encyclical, Laudato Si', in which he said: "The Earth, our home, is beginning to look like an immense pile of filth."

They also highlighted numerous "local issues" including the degradation of the Great Barrier Reef, Indigenous land rights, and the "escalating gap" between the "haves" and "have nots" across north Queensland "which we believe leads to extreme political stances in our communities and result[s] in less community harmony, justice and peace".

"Another 'Pearl of Great Price' that is in danger is our incredible Artesian Basin and its age-old water resources," they wrote. "The projected mega-mining developments across Queensland, especially the Galilee Basin, look to usurp this 'coal resource for all ages'."

The Galilee Basin is the location of Indian giant Adani's proposed $16.5 billion Carmichael coal mine.

They said politics and business have been "slow to provide strong leadership or urgency for the common good: a leadership that incorporates environmental issues as much as the financial, social or political issues". 

"We know from experience that the maximisation of profit, frequently isolated from other considerations, reflects a misunderstanding of economy," they write, going on to again quote Pope Francis - this time from comments made soon after his papal appointment, in which he said that "unless Christians are revolutionaries, they are not Christians".

"He believes Christians need to 'turn around' the way we see nature, the ways we care for creation and its people and live more simply with less negative impact on the environment," they said.

Thea Ormerod, president of the multi-faith environmental organisation, the Australian Religious Response to Climate Change, applauded the bishops' statement.

“ARRCC congratulates Bishops Bill Ray and Tim Harris for their courageous stand today," she said in a statement. "Australia needs such prophetic witness to the importance of protecting our Common Home over profit-seeking extractive industries.”

Ms Ormerod added that Adani’s Carmichael mine "should never be allowed to go ahead".

“Regional hopes for employment of large numbers of people will be disappointed. Even in Queensland, many more people are already being employed in renewable energy projects and in industries such as agriculture and tourism which stand to lose because of the mine. As a nation, we have the resources to support those communities who are being impacted by our necessary transition away from mining."