A much-loved Queensland national park could be at risk after gas giant Australia Pacific LNG quietly lodged an application to frack nearly 1000 gas wells north of Injune.
The application includes PL 218, which contains a section of Carnarvon National Park - the location for the headwaters of the Murray Darling system and home to unique and threatened flora and fauna.
APLNG’s original EA, approved in July last year, does not permit fracking, and the amendment does not require an Environmental Impact Statement. It would also cost the company just $327.60.
It is not the only application for fracking a petroleum licence in close proximity to Carnarvon National Park - Santos lodged an application to frack PL450 in November last year, despite there being no reference to fracking in the company’s original environmental authority.
The region also remains in drought, and farmers’ water resources such as bores could be irreparably drained and damaged should fracking be permitted.
The amendment application comes after Queensland’s Office of Groundwater Impact Assessment’s Underground Water Impact Report revealed massive drawdown of water bores across the Surat Basin, with 574 bores expected to be impacted by the gas industry.
Alarmingly, 127 bores have already been affected, yet gas companies have only managed to implement 93 make good agreements for affected landowners.
The draft UWIR also did not take into consideration this latest amendments from APLNG, and as such the cumulative impact on underground water is not measured.
Don’t Frack the Outback spokesperson and St George resident Leanne Brummell said there was a lack of transparency surrounding APLNG’s plan to frack.
“It is appalling the Queensland Government does not require amendments like this to be more widely advertised - documents are only online and are not even physically available in Injune," she said.
“We have also been given just 20 days to make a submission on an amendment that will cost the company less than the construction of a garden shed. These gas companies are getting a free ride.
“Meanwhile, landowners who are already suffering from the devastating impacts of the drought will now be forced to negotiate with bullying gas companies.
“As we have seen across the Surat Basin, agricultural bores will undoubtedly be drained and gas companies will drag their heels before coming to the table and implementing make good arrangements.”
Lock the Gate Queensland spokesperson Ellie Smith said it was appalling fracking could be permitted so close to Carnarvon National Park and at the headwaters of the Murray Darling system.
“The Murray Darling is under so much pressure already, and this amendment application could have devastating impacts to underground and surface water resources in the area,” she said.
“The insidious nature of fracking means that even though the wells won’t be located inside the national park, it is possible they will still have a devastating impact on the pristine creeks and springs within Carnarvon.
“The Condamine River is already bubbling with methane gas thanks to Origin Energy owned gas wells, and now the company wants to do the same to the beautiful waterways around Carnarvon.
“Lock the Gate Alliance is calling on the Queensland Government to reject this amendment application.”
APLNG is owned by Origin Energy 37.5%, Conoco Phillips 37.5% (USA) and Sinopec 25% (Chinese Government).
To access APLNG's application, click here.