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LNP’s rush to pass Bills illustrates why we must take Senate inquiry seriously

The LNP’s rush to placate big mining companies in State Parliament last night is more evidence of why Queenslanders must take the current Senate inquiry seriously.

The State Government’s proposed changes to the Water Reform and Other Legislation Bill favour mining companies over landholders and farmers, giving them unrestricted water use without the need for a water licence.

The proposed changes have received widespread criticism from farmers, local government, environmentalists, water experts and even the Queensland Resources Council.

Western Downs’ cattle producer, Lee McNicholl said: “This is the most treacherous sell-out in the history of the Queensland government of rural communities that depend on underground water.”

Lock the Gate Alliance president, Drew Hutton said the LNP’s rush to pass such wide-ranging Bills that favour mining companies was more evidence of why the Senate hearings into the Queensland Government were so important.

“The Senate hearings provide a way of shining a light on the shenanigans and dodgy dealings between Queensland politicians and the big end of town,” Mr Hutton said.

“Queenslanders should not allow the likes of Senators O’Sullivan, McGrath and Macdonald to high-jack the hearings so that what is going on can continue to be swept under the carpet.”

The proposed changes:

  • Will give mining companies privileged status over the rest of Queensland;
  • Will mean water planning aimed at maintaining our precious groundwater will not apply to the water mining companies using it to get at the coal;
  • Will deplete vital Great Artesian Basin water aquifers through unsustainable dewatering;
  • Ignore the fact the no ‘make good agreement’ can cover the permanent loss of water;
  • Ignore the fact that mining companies already treat the ‘make good agreements’ with contempt;
  • Will be another nail in the coffin of the Great Barrier Reef.

“The Queensland Government is run by mining companies and the big end of town and the proposed changes reflect that,” he said.

The Senate hearings into Certain Aspects of Queensland Government Administration Related to Commonwealth Government Affairs continue in Brisbane on Friday. The submission period has been extended to February 27 due to the high volume of submissions being received.

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