Lock the Gate Alliance says it is unconscionable Queensland Mines Minister Anthony Lynham is demanding federal taxpayer funds be spent on expanding the gas industry immediately following revelations CSG expansion will impact 571 farming water bores across Southern Queensland.
As elected representatives wrestle with energy policy from Perth today, the Alliance has expressed exasperation that governments are considering polluting and water-hungry gasfields that have caused conflict, water loss and health impacts for regional communities.
Dr Lynham’s comments come four days after the Underground water impact report (UWIR) for the Surat Basin was finalised.
The government report, from Dr Lynham’s own department, found coal seam gas was having a massive impact on underground water across southern Queensland, with more than 100 bores due to be impacted in the next three years, and many more due to be drained long term as the industry spreads across fertile farmland.
“As this destructive drought marches on, and bushfires burn out of control, the Queensland Government wants to make the situation worse,” said Lock the Gate spokesperson Naomi Hogan.
“Gas is a polluting fuel which is causing farmers to lose water bores and driving up energy prices in Australia.
“Farmers are out across Australia doing it tough with the drought and bushfires, and it’s unbelievable that the Queensland and Federal Governments want to force them into risky gasfields.
“If our politicians spent less time cosying up with their gas lobby mates, they could visit the regions and listen to people who don’t want yet another threat to their livelihoods.
“Fracking and coal seam gas use massive quantities of and pollute our most precious resource: water. It is also unbelievable that the Northern Territory and Western Australia are pushing full steam ahead with fracking in those places, despite the damage the industry has caused elsewhere in Australia and overseas.
“The NSW Government must also heed the Underground Water Impact report’s findings and reject Santos’ polluting plan for a gasfield at Narrabri.”
“We cannot afford to risk water for dangerous and polluting gasfields across regional Australia.
“The behaviour of the gas companies means Australians are being ripped off with high gas prices, while the vast majority of our gas is shipped overseas.
“The more gas we’ve drilled and fracked out of the ground in Australia, the higher our gas prices have become.
“More polluting gasfields will only make the problem worse; it will keep prices high and use huge volumes of water when we need it most.
“A primary school student could do the maths better than our Federal Government on energy prices. It’s now far cheaper to build new solar and energy storage then it is to build new coal or gas power stations.
“Minister Taylor has the power to boost Australia as the renewable energy capital of the world and ensure the benefits of investment, new careers and cheaper power flow to all Australians. Let’s get on with it."