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Miniscule fine handed to fracking company Origin Energy over major contamination spill

Lock the Gate Alliance says a $60,000 fine handed to fracking company Origin Energy for releasing 800,000 litres of contaminated coal seam gas waste water onto Queensland farms and rivers will do nothing to deter similar behaviour in the future.

Origin recently posted a profit of $407 million - up 30 percent from the previous year.

Lock the Gate Alliance also says the Queensland Palaszczuk Government needs to explain why the fine was not immediately made public when it was handed to Origin in July and was only this morning reported by the media, given the Environment Department issued four press releases – detailing lesser offences by smaller entities – within days of the Origin court case.

Similarly, Environment Minister Meaghan Scanlon issued three media statements on July 15 - the day Origin received its penalty - none of which had anything to do with the court case.

“This laughable fine and lack of transparency by the Palaszczuk Government once again exposes the uncomfortably close relationship the coal seam gas industry has with decision makers in Queensland,” said Lock the Gate Alliance spokesperson Carmel Flint.

“A fine of $60,000 is pocket change for a company like Origin and will do nothing to dissuade it or similar companies polluting like this again in the future.

“This sorry incident also exposes Queensland’s insufficient coal seam gas waste management laws - the government has acknowledged there is no long term solution to deal with the many millions of tonnes of toxic brine waste the coal seam gas industry produces.

“Instead, this waste is, for the moment, left to stew in holding ponds which poses a major risk, potentially leading to events like this one where waste escapes into creeks and onto neighbouring land. 

“The weather forecast is for another wet summer in Queensland and we hold grave fears that we will see another, perhaps even worse, contamination event such as this.”


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