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Adani Is The Canary In The Coal Mine For Our Groundwater

Why is the Government so set on giving Adani special treatment?

21/11/2016 10:22 AM AEDT | Updated 21/11/2016 10:22 AM AEDT
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"When we think of the cumulative impacts that five large coal mines would have on the Great Artesian Basin we can only guess at the exact impacts on our groundwater."

Adani is the canary in the coal mine for our groundwater.

Once the construction of this mega-mine begins, regional communities and primary producers will have advanced warning of what is to come.

There are currently five coal mine proposals in the Galilee Basin, including Adani's mega-coal mine that the Queensland Government is set on fast-tracking into existence.

Recently the Queensland Government passed some water laws making another special concession to Adani that removes transparency and public input on Adani's groundwater licence application. This is cause for concern for all us farmers in Queensland that depend on groundwater.

Now don't get me wrong, for the primary producers like myself just north of Jericho, the water laws passing parliament was rare good news. The Government's amendment to Campbell Newman's water laws means that the mine my community challenged in court due to dodgy claims regarding its groundwater impacts, GVK Hancock's Alpha project, will still be required to get a groundwater licence before it does untold damage to the aquifers us farmers depend on.

The Kevin Corner's mine will also need a groundwater licence. GVK Hancock's groundwater licence application will be open and accountable to the public as it should be. We, the community, will be able to make submissions and, if necessary, can challenge any dubious claims in court as is our right.

The laws passed early November mean the requirement for getting a water licence and the associated public submission process applies to all current mining proposals -- except Adani's Carmichael mine.

We need to understand one thing: If Adani's Carmichael mine gets built, the other four mines proposed in the Galilee Basin will have a much higher chance of going ahead. All that associated infrastructure, all that momentum will be channelled into all five mines, not just one.

When we think of the cumulative impacts that five large coal mines would have on the Great Artesian Basin we can only guess at the exact impacts on our groundwater, but we know that the impact would be immense.

What I know from my experience with the Alpha mine is that groundwater science is an inexact art, and mining companies are rarely up-front about the true scale of potential impacts. We can't afford to allow Adani to slip through under a veil of mystery without scrutinising the claims they will make and with not even public notification of the grant of the licence.

If the Government thinks that GVK Hancock's mine and New Hope's Acland mine should be subject to community submission and appeal rights, why not Carmichael too? Why is the Government so set on giving Adani special treatment, placing it above the law, making special laws for it and exempting it from others?

Why is the Government so eager to appease a big foreign-owned company undertaking an unsustainable, temporary venture, when it is Queensland's communities, and essential sustainable industries like primary producers, which will bear the brunt of permanent groundwater destruction into the future?

I fear that once the construction of Adani's mega mine begins, the canary will snuff it and we farmers will be bound to watch multiple coal mines destroy the most precious resource we have.

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