Alliance Slams Extraordinary Land and Water Grab

The Lock the Gate Alliance has slammed the Queensland Government’s extraordinary admission that it will take people’s land, give away coal and override due process to induce coal companies to build the biggest coal mines in the country in Queensland’s Galilee Basin.

Lock the Gate President, Drew Hutton, said, “It looks like the Government’s coal mates are in line to get very special treatment, and the farmers and graziers in their way are going to be utterly shafted. Just why these mines deserve so much money and royal treatment, when landholders are suffering drought, is not clear.”

According to Lock the Gate, the Galilee Basin Development Strategy, released today, admits that opening up the Galilee Basin to coal mining is uneconomic.

Mr Hutton said, “It is astounding that they are considering making taxpayers give yet another bonus to the coal industry, given the scale of impact these mines will have on groundwater and biodiversity in the region. They’re talking about taking people’s land off them, in good farming country, to build railways for a couple of Indian coal companies that don’t have enough cash to build the mines themselves.

“Most alarmingly, the Government is proposing to make water from the State reserve available to these coal mines at cheap prices. Everyone knows there’s a glut of coal: it’s water we’re short of in Queensland right now.

“These mines are going to remove over 1,000 billion litres of groundwater in a semi-arid region currently experiencing drought. Giving State water to the proponents at bargain basement prices adds insult to injury for struggling graziers.

Further comment: Drew Hutton 0428 487 110

Key quotes from the “Galilee Basin Development Strategy

  • “Given the importance of opening this region to mining and that current and forecast market conditions are proving challenging, this is an issue that can be further considered by government”
  • “Importantly, the government recognises that significant delays to projects can occur as private sector developers face difficulties acquiring the land needed to develop railway corridors over significant distances, and that compulsory land acquisition may be required.
  • “make an allocation of water supplies available from the Burdekin Resource Operations Plan at prices intended to facilitate the development of local supply and management solution”
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