Groundwater vital for farming some of the country’s richest soils could be irreparably damaged if the Queensland Government signs off on the water licence for the next stage of the Acland coal mine on the Darling Downs.
Despite being knocked back due to groundwater concerns in the Land Court, the company behind the project, New Hope Coal, has appealed the decision and has applied for a water licence for Stage 3 of the mine.
Public submissions to the state government concerning the water licence close today, and Lock the Gate Alliance is urging the Department of Natural Resources and Mines and Minister Anthony Lynham to reject New Hope’s application. LTGA has recorded more than 420 submissions made so far through its online submission form.
Paul King form the Oakey Coal Action Alliance said if approved, Stage 3 of the New Acland coal mine would have a disastrous impact both locally and on a global scale.
“The underground aquifers that many farms on the Darling Downs rely on are likely to experience significant drainage, including aquifers which are identified in the Murray Darling Basin Plan as already being over their Sustainable Diversion Limit volumes,” he said.
“Acland Stage 3, if approved, would also destroy farmland which has been confirmed by the Land Court as being among the best 1.5 percent of agricultural land in Queensland, including 1,3000 hectares of mapped Strategic Cropping Land.
“Ultimately, this mine expansion would make a significant contribution to climate change which will impose major costs on Queenslanders, particularly through the consequences of extreme weather.
“Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk has estimated that the recent summer of disasters cost Queensland $1.5 billion.
“The Queensland taxpayer wouldn’t even see a worthwhile return on this destructive project - there are virtually no royalties payable to the state, because 93 per cent of the land to be mined is held under an old title system which according to the Land Court equates to a loss of approximately $436M in royalties.
“The state government must not grant this company a water licence and continue on a path that could further condemn the communities around Acland, including Oakey, to a future of coal mining induced disruption.”