A midnight sitting of Parliament has seen the Queensland Government take the extraordinary step of amending its own Bill in order to appease Indian coal miner, Adani, by short-circuiting public notification rules around water licences.
The government has created a special loophole for the Adani Carmichael coal mine, which aims to exempt the project from community objection rights in relation to groundwater licences.
The bizarre exemption appears to apply only to the Adani Carmichael project, and other mines including the Acland Stage 3 and Alpha coal mine will not be caught by it.
The amendment was passed as part of the Environmental Protection (Underground Water Management) and Other Legislation Amendment Bill.
“It’s always appalling to see good legislation warped in this manner to give one company a special deal,” said Carmel Flint, spokesperson for Lock the Gate Alliance.
“It stinks of political favouritism and the abuse of good governance.
“It looks like Adani is now writing Queensland’s water laws.
“This amendment detracts from the positive outcomes that the Bill contains for farmers affected by the Acland Stage 3 and Alpha coal mines, which appear set to retain community objection rights, and for other farmers who are forced into negotiating make good agreements with CSG companies.
"However, it is notable that all advanced mining projects, including the Adani Carmichael mine, will still be required to obtain associated groundwater licences, which is a positive step for proper assessment and accountability in relation to groundwater impacts.
“There are two members of the Queensland Parliament who can hold their heads high. Rob Pyne, the independent member for Cairns, and Peter Wellington, the speaker of the house, have been unwavering in their support for a better deal for farmers whose water is under threat from mining.
"We want to thank them for consistently stepping up to defend farming families and our precious groundwater resources” she said.