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Reports of Origin Energy cover-up of oil leak into Australia's most significant aquifer prompts calls for urgent inquiry

Media reports today that Origin Energy allegedly allowed oil to leak into underground aquifers for more than a year, without coming clean to regulators or fixing the problem, merits an urgent Government inquiry, according to the Lock the Gate Alliance.

Lock the Gate spokesperson Phil Laird called for the Qld Government to step in immediately to stop work by Origin and ensure the safety of Australia’s largest underground water resource, the Great Artesian Basin, and local communities who may be in affected areas.

Mr Laird said that regulation of the oil and gas industries in Qld had failed monumentally. The Government should urgently create a Resources Ombudsman to rein in the risky industry as well as instituting a far-reaching inquiry into the industries failures and cover-ups, he said.

“The revelations in The Australian story today of water contamination, leaking wells, and gross failures in rehabilitation at Origin’s coal seam gas project demand urgent action to stop the CSG industry ruining Queensland,” Mr Laird said.

“The Queensland Government should issue an urgent stop work order until Origin provides detailed information and all documents relevant to the alleged failures.

“The oil and gas industry constantly asks the community and regulators to ‘trust us’, yet the behaviour of Origin reveals a shocking breach which has potentially exposed communities living in or near gas fields to serious risks.

“It’s scandalous for oil and gas companies to allow such monumental failures, risk vital national water resources and people’s livelihoods and then cover it up from regulators and the community.

“We know already that regulation of CSG mining in Qld has been an abject failure, and the Government should immediately create a Resources Ombudsman, with all the powers needed to haul this industry into line and make it abide by the rules.

“Following on from the Linc Energy contamination, these latest revelations show that a far-reaching inquiry is also needed into the gas industry in Qld, to unveil the full extent of the damage that has been done and the scale of the cover-ups that may have occurred” Mr Laird said.

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