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Morrison’s gas-fired recovery will wreck farms and water, ignores renewable realities

The Morrison Government’s long-feared “gas-fired recovery” will lead to the destruction of more farmland, the further draining and contamination of underground water, and will disrupt the lives of many regional and rural Australians, according to Lock the Gate Alliance.

“Australians will be outraged to learn their hard earned taxpayer dollars will be used to further the destruction of farmland and waterways across the country,” said Lock the Gate Alliance national coordinator Naomi Hogan in response to the Morrison Government's gas-fire recovery announcement this morning.

“We’re seeing new and disturbing reports from the gasfields of Queensland where the coal seam gas and fracking industries have been allowed to drain aquifers, wreck farmland, and industrialise once peaceful rural towns.

“Just last month we learnt Origin Energy CSG operations were being blamed for the eruption of salty water and gas on farmland and into the Condamine River system - the same river system that can be lit on fire thanks to nearby gas production.

“We know that wherever this diabolical industry goes, communities suffer.

"Insurance companies know this as well - earlier this year, Australia’s largest insurer IAG ruled out covering farmers for third party insurance where they have CSG infrastructure on their properties.

“We also know this industry is having a cumulative drawdown impact on the precious underground aquifers farmers rely on on the Western Downs, with the 2019 Underground water impact report (UWIR) for the Surat Basin showing more than 100 farming bores in the Surat Basin had been drained due to CSG, and predicting a further 500 would be drained if the industry expanded locally as expected.

“Around the world, unconventional gas projects are bleeding money because they do not stack up financially on their own. It’s clear the only way these unconventional gas companies can make money is if they stick out their hands for huge public subsidies.

“Governments should not be subsidising an economically unstable, polluting industry, let alone one that leads to the destruction of farmland and the draining of precious underground water supplies.

“This announcement is all the more galling because it ignores that renewable energy and battery storage is, and has been for some time now, the cheapest, most efficient way to power industry and households around the country.

“Backing gas now is equivalent to a government investing in the candle making industry just as street lights were being turned on around the world.

“It’s a terrible idea - one that will come back to bite as the rest of the world recognises the immediate need to protect and enhance food growing land, and embraces renewable energy.”

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