The Palaszczuk Government’s refusal to back down over its deeply unpopular approval of Blue Energy’s Central Queensland gasfield shows it cares neither for communities, nor climate.
The government today announced minor variations to the company’s proposal, but upheld its approval. (Available here)
While the government first approved Blue Energy’s 530 gaswell project west of Glenden in March this year, groups such as Lock the Gate Alliance, Environmental Advocacy for Central Queensland (EnvA-CQ), and even the Isaac Regional Council wrote scathing responses, demanding the decision be revoked.
The council’s submission noted the threat it posed to the social fabric of the community, and also raised concerns about how the project would impact the local housing market, road network, and existing workforce.
Lock the Gate Alliance national coordinator Ellen Roberts said, “Sadly, this is what we’ve come to expect from a government that is totally captured by the fossil gas industry.
“If built, Blue Energy’s gasfield will drain more than 19 billion litres of water. Fifty-three water bores lie within 10km of this project that farmers rely on for stock and home use.
“Gas projects fracture more than just coal seams - they fracture communities and families as big petroleum companies strongarm landholders into signing access agreements, with complicit support from the government.
“Annastacia Palaszczuk paints herself as a premier for the regions, but when the regions say no to gas, her government sides with big fossil fuel companies, not locals.”
EnvA-CQ director Dr Coral Rowston said it was disappointing the Palaszczuk Government had ignored the pleas of the local community.
“Gas from this project will drive dangerous climate change, which is already leading to more severe weather in Central Queensland like unprecedented droughts, cyclones, and floods,” she said.
“Blue Energy is in for a fight. Just like locals turfed it out of the Wide Bay-Burnett in 2019, so too will Central Queenslanders send this gas company packing.”
The government’s latest approval comes after it allocated $21 million to subsidise gas companies’ exploration in new areas of the state, including the northern Bowen Basin, where Blue’s gasfield would be located.
It followed a $5 million joint state and federally-funded feasibility study for a pipeline that would link the north Bowen Basin to the existing gas network further south, and lobbying by both the QLD Government and Blue Energy for greater gas subsidies from the federal government and other states.