Queensland pastoralists call for laws to protect wellspring of life On World Water Day

Published: March 22, 2015

Graziers in Queensland's remote Channel Country are calling for permanent, statutory protection for rivers, wetlands and floodplains.
"As far as we know, life can't exist without water,” said Dr Bob Morrish of the Cooper's Creek Protection Group, "It's entirely reasonable, sensible and logical to have laws in place to protect this most essential of all resources. It's irresponsible not to.”

Dr Morrish said that governments that prize water's economic uses and values above all others were not to be trusted.

"CCPG members have been alarmed by plans to open up the iconic Cooper's Creek to drilling and fracking for unconventional shale oil and gas,” Dr Morrish said.

"Imposing this water-intensive and polluting industry on us is tantamount to selling us down the river. There is no way our sustainable and compatible beef and tourism industries can coexist with it.

"On World Water Day we are calling on the new ALP government to reinstate the highest level of protection for our desert rivers and to move to ensure that the Precautionary Principle underpins the management of all our water resources."

Grazier Angus Emmott, of the Western Rivers Alliance, said governments were blinded by the dollar signs, but willfully blind to the negative impacts of unconventional oil and gas.

"We've read the research revealing the growing evidence of groundwater contamination, ruined lives and ruined rivers,” Mr Emmott said.

"We're bitterly opposed to that happening here. This is one of the last intact desert rivers on the planet.

"Australia and all Australians need laws that guarantee our freshwater ecosystems are managed sustainably and can provide for us in perpetuity.

"The bottom line is that there are alternatives to fossil fuels as energy sources but there are absolutely no substitutes for water.

"Without water, there is no future out here. Without water, we're all fracked,” Mr Emmott concluded.

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