The Palaszczuk government has signed a secret agreement allowing the Adani Company to avoid court challenges to its water license.
Adani’s Carmichael Coal Mine is set to suck millions of litres of groundwater from regional Queensland. The Queensland government according to ACF Healthy Ecosystems Campaigner Basha Stasak has set a different set of groundwater management rules for Adani than everyone else.
This is a secret decision to prop up a mine that will help destroy the Reef and the 70,000 Queensland jobs that rely on it. A secret decision to prop up a mine that no one else will fund because it is too risky and dangerous for the climate.
Stasek believes this secret approval demeans democracy and transparency in government decision making. The mine will suck up more than 9000 ML a year that's the same as 3,6000 Olympic swimming pools. The amendments to the Water Act in 2016 exempted Adani’s water license from any public scrutiny.
Really it’s just shocking that the Queensland community won’t have an opportunity on the merits to scrutinise this associated water licence with groundwater experts and point out the weaknesses in this licence, Says Stasak
"There are members of this house who have done a deal with the government that will prevent other projects from going forward, in particular ... New Hope's Acland stage 3 project, which has actually been going through an assessment and approvals process for longer than Adani's Carmichael mine project, says opposition mines spokesman Andrew Cripps.
This water is crucial for Regional Queensland. It will keep rivers healthy and support local agriculture as well as conserve habitat for threatened species.
“Certainly the severe implications are that if the groundwater is taken, then it’s not available for other more long-term or sustainable uses. This would be an irreversible serious consequence of these enormous coal mines,” said Jo-Anne Bragg, the chief executive and solicitor at the Environment Defenders Office Queensland.
Adani’s agreement ends in 2077, and there is no volume cut –off stated in the agreement or any clauses to halt mining productions. Landowners say the damage to the environment and water supply would be irreversible.
Adani has a reputation of taking on projects of high risk and scale, without any regard for the environment and have been found guilty of serious environmental breaches.
But Anthony Lynham, Queensland natural resources and mines minister has defended the government’s choice and licensing.
“This project has been through extensive scrutiny by state and federal governments,” he said. “The community and many of these groups have had their say, many times.”