Spring into ac­tion

Farmer cli­mate group’s water con­cern

Central and North Rural Weekly - - FRONT PAGE - KIR­ILI LAMB kir­[email protected]­ral­weekly.com.au .

cMONITORING MAT­TER: Doongmab­ulla Springs is an ex­ten­sive spring com­plex lo­cated along the Galilee Basin. Water level mon­i­tor­ing on the sys­tem is part of the yet-to-be-ap­proved GDEMP for the Carmichael Coal Mine, but farm­ers say more study is needed. PHOTO: LOCK THE GATE

CON­CERN for the long-term well­be­ing of arid coun­try wa­ter­ways and aquifers have again been raised in re­la­tion to min­ing de­vel­op­ment of the Galilee Basin.

Farm­ers for Cli­mate Ac­tion took ac­tion ear­lier this month, pub­lish­ing an open let­ter ad­ver­tise­ment in the Courier-Mail, call­ing fed­eral and Queens­land gov­ern­ment en­vi­ron­ment min­is­ters Melissa Price and Leeanne Enoch, to “re­ject Adani’s Ground­wa­ter De­pen­dent Ecosys­tem Man­age­ment Plan (GDEMP), and ex­pe­dite thor­ough on-ground re­search into the true po­ten­tial risks of ther­mal coal and gas min­ing on lo­cal water sys­tems across Queens­land.”

The let­ter was co-signed by 60 farm­ers from re­gions across Queens­land, in­clud­ing Lon­greach, Bar­cal­dine, Glasshouse Moun­tains, Bund­aberg and many other agri­cul­tural ar­eas.

The let­ter called for the re­jec­tion of the Carmichael coal mine GDEMP on the grounds that the mine, west of Cler­mont, Cen­tral Queens­land, rep­re­sented the first in line of a slew of re­source de­vel­op­ments from a va­ri­ety of com­pa­nies pro­posed for the as-yet un­de­vel­oped ther­mal coal basin and that there was a need for fur­ther sci­en­tific eval­u­a­tion of the re­gion’s ge­ol­ogy and hy­drol­ogy.

The let­ter cited CSIRO queries around data and con­cern for the cu­mu­la­tive im­pact of con­tin­ued re­source in­dus­try de­vel­op­ment in the Galilee on, par­tic­u­larly, ground­wa­ter sys­tems vi­tal for sus­tain­ing agri­cul­ture in arid re­gions.

FCA chief ex­ec­u­tive Ver­ity Mor­gan-Sch­midt said West Aus­tralian mem­bers of FCA had been able to raise the is­sue of the let­ter on be­half of its sig­na­to­ries in a re­cent meet­ing with fed­eral en­vi­ron­ment min­is­ter Melissa Price.

“The min­is­ter ac­knowl­edged the con­cerns, but no un­der­tak­ings or com­mit­ments were made,” she said.

“We are con­tin­u­ing to en­gage with the min­is­ter’s of­fice, and en­sur­ing that the con­cerns of CQ farm­ers and gra­ziers are heard.

“We’re still wait­ing to con­firm an op­por­tu­nity for CQ gra­ziers to meet with Min­is­ter Enoch, how­ever, we note that she has been on the road in south­ern Queens­land this week, and has in fact met with one of our farm­ers on other cli­mate and sus­tain­abil­ity is­sues.

“We are call­ing on both min­is­ters to sup­port com­pre­hen­sive on-ground re­search into the cu­mu­la­tive im­pacts of min­ing ac­tiv­i­ties in the Galilee Basin. It’s time for our elected rep­re­sen­ta­tives to be look­ing to the fu­ture, em­brac­ing eco­nomic di­ver­si­fi­ca­tion op­por­tu­ni­ties, backing hard-work­ing farm­ers

❝ Our ar­gu­ment to our gov­ern­ments is that we need to pro­ceed very care­fully. — An­gus Em­mott, gra­zier

PHOTO: MATTHEW TURNER

PRE­CAU­TION­ARY PRIN­CI­PLE: Lon­greach gra­zier An­gus Em­mott urges a cau­tious ap­proach to de­vel­op­ment in arid lands around the Great Arte­sian Basin.

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