Mining Companies Free to Drain Unlimited Water Under LNP Proposal

Published: July 29, 2014

Carmichael Mine May Avoid Water Licence Requirements

Mining companies will be allowed to drain unlimited amounts of water under proposed State Government changes, says Lock the Gate Alliance.

Lock the Gate’s Central Queensland coordinator, Ellie Smith said the group was “extremely concerned” about this proposal, in light of yesterday’s approval of the huge Carmichael Mine.

“Under proposed changes to water regulations in Queensland, Adani’s Carmichael Mine may avoid requirements to obtain water licences to extract water,” Ms Smith said. “The company plans to extract up to 12.5 billions of litres of water every year from local aquifers and the Great Artesian Basin.

“This is enormously worrying for landholders and communities dependent on this water; they can’t survive without it.”

Submissions close today on consultation about drastic changes to the Queensland Water Act which could remove the requirement for mining companies to apply for water licences to drain the local groundwater that seeps into their coal pits as they cut through layers of rock.

In a submission, Lock the Gate Alliance will urge the Queensland Government to rethink their proposal to scrap the water licensing regime which is the only current safeguard for neighbouring landholders and communities to ensure security of their water supply.

"The Government and companies involved in proposed developments in the Galilee Basin have not proven that they can supply neighbouring towns and properties with water. The Water Licensing system is the only protection left for these communities,” Ms Smith said.

"The Queensland Government should be moving to strengthen protection of water supply to all Queenslander's at a time when we are suffering a devastating drought across much of regional Queensland."

Lock the Gate Alliance is also calling on the Federal Government not to hand assessment and approval powers for these projects back to State Governments given this move to reduce regulatory protections for water,  a matter of national environmental significance.

"Yesterday's approval concedes that the Carmichael Mine will remove water from the Great Artesian Basin, a water resource of profound importance to the whole country. The Commonwealth should be alarmed at Queensland's plans to let coal companies remove water from the Basin without a licence. This is not a time to hand over water trigger powers to the states."

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