Queensland farmers are appalled after the Palaszczuk Government announced it would open an area almost as big as Belgium to unconventional gas exploration.
“If the Premier thinks this is going to shore up votes for her ahead of next year’s election, she is sorely mistaken,” said Chinchilla landholder, Glen Beasley.
“Despite recent rains many farmers are still facing extreme drought conditions, and we know from the State Government’s own research that the coal seam gas industry has a devastating impact on groundwater levels.
“It is hard enough to find water at the moment. With the expansion of this insidious industry, it will only become more difficult.
“My property is currently under threat because the CSG industry wants to dump 15 million tonnes of its toxic waste at the headwaters of a nearby creek which forms part of the Murray Darling Basin catchment.
"The threat is not just the depletion of underground aquifers, but there is the added aspect of biosecurity issues posed by the toxic waste this industry produces.
“At a time when the State Government is asking primary producers to take on added responsibility dealing with the increasing risks posed to agricultural from biosecurity risks, it is fostering an enormous biosecurity risk itself by encouraging this industry.
“There is a huge, unresolved risk to ground and surface water due to how the CSG industry disposes of its contaminated waste.
“This is not just a local threat - it has serious implications for primary industry right down the already beggared Murray Darling system.”
The Queensland Government’s own Surat Basin Underground Water Impact Report, released mid this year, found 127 water bores used for farming had already experienced drainage due to CSG mining.
The report also found that if allowed to continue expanding at its current rate, a total of 574 bores would eventually be drained.
“With this new land release for CSG, the scale of this damage will only increase,” said Lock the Gate Alliance spokesperson Carmel Flint.
“The Queensland Government has failed to respond to this dire warning, and it seems farmers and communities will bear the brunt of this failure.
“Agricultural water users are now facing restrictions on groundwater use due to drought, but CSG groundwater use is effectively a permanent use, that cannot be increased or decreased in response to conditions, which means more pressure on farmers.
“Lock the Gate Alliance calls on the Queensland Government to urgently reverse its position on CSG industry and introduce a moratorium on this water hungry industry.”