Queensland taxpayers should not be forced to clean up after Linc Energy caused massive environmental damage to fertile Western Downs farmland and the environment, according to Lock the Gate Alliance.
The revelation that Queenslanders will be slogged $31 million for rehabilitation comes after it was reported the State Government had created a no-go zone for coal seam gas drilling on parts of gas tenements that include the former Linc site at Hopeland, but is bizarrely allowing it on other tenements above the Linc site.
It also follows reports the former head of Linc Energy Peter Bond faces more charges over the disaster.
Former Hopeland resident Shay Dougall said the State Government had failed both Western Downs residents and Queenslanders generally over its handling of the situation.
“We have been left in the dark on the details since day one,” she said.
“I would like to see what they’re using that $31 million for. I would like to see transparency, six monthly reports - we’ve had nothing so far.
“Provide us as taxpayers and people in the community with results and data.
“That’s what has been missing all along - it’s just been this vague discussion about a vague issue with no quantification of anything.
“If they can put a dollar figure on it they should be able to explain to us in detail what the money will be used for and details characterising the actual problem that is being ‘rehabilitated’.
“The government gets to make these grand statements about repairing the environment but it has never provided detailed information to those most affected.
“The government made a massive mistake allowing this project, and allowing cowboys to play with fire unsupervised and unaccountable, and now everyday Queenslanders are being forced to pick up the bill."
Lock the Alliance Queensland spokesperson Ellie Smith said Queenslanders should feel outraged they were being forced to pay for a private company’s mistakes.
“On top of the human costs already felt by the community at Hopeland, we are now being forced to pay for remediation,” Ms Smith said.
"Linc Energy is ultimately responsible for this disaster and should continue to be pursued. This highlights the importance of governments taking adequate financial assurance up front.
“We have lost valuable agricultural land due to these mistakes.
“This also highlights the risks we take with agricultural land when we allow untested and unproven dangerous industry to treat Queenslanders like guinea pigs.
“It is disappointing the South Australian Government has now approved a similar underground coal gasification project at Leigh Creek. Clearly, they have not learnt the lessons of Queensland’s mistakes.”