Communities Need Answers About Coal and Gas Water Resource Impacts Before the Election

Published: August 23, 2013

Lock The Gate Alliance has called on the Federal Government to ensure that 39 coal and gas projects, including many controversial proposals, are captured by the new water trigger in Federal environment laws, before the election on September 7th.

“The community applauded the passage of the water trigger Bill through parliament in June, but are still waiting on a decision as to whether it will apply to many highly controversial coal and gas projects” said Carmel Flint, Campaign Co-ordinator with Lock the Gate Alliance.

"There is just one month to make sure that the water trigger applies to a swag of contentious projects that have already submitted applications under Federal environment laws, or their impact on water resources will be completely ignored."

The Lock the Gate Alliance has analysed the list of coal and gas projects that have previously been submitted under Federal environment laws and found that the Government has just four weeks to ensure that their impact on water resources is assessed (see Attachment 1).

“Our analysis shows that, of 43 coal and gas projects likely to significantly impact on water resources that have been referred to the Federal government, only 4 have had the water trigger applied. The remaining 39 are hinging on an imminent decision from the Minister."

Projects that have already been submitted for which the Minister needs to make a decision, include numerous highly controversial and hotly contested projects such as:

  1. four coal seam gas proposals, including the Camden Gas Project in Western Sydney and the Arrow Energy and Santos CSG projects on the Darling Downs in Queensland;
  2. numerous NSW coal projects including Drayton South in the Hunter Valley, Wallarah 2 on the Central Coast, and Shenhua Watermark on the Liverpool Plains; and
  3. many Queensland coal projects, including the Adani Carmichael project in Central Queensland and The Range on the northern Darling Downs.

"Our foodbowls on the Darling Downs and Liverpool Plains, thoroughbred horse studs in the Hunter Valley, the drinking water catchment of the Central Coast, and the Great Artesian Basin are all at risk from these proposals," Ms Flint said.

"We're calling for the Federal Government to decide how the water trigger applies to these projects before the election, so that the Australian people are fully informed.  We want the water trigger applied to all projects and further water studies conducted.

"We're also calling for the Coalition to offer bipartisan support and commit to applying the water trigger to these projects should they win Government - its time they put farm water supplies and food security above a quick buck for mining giants."

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