Spring into action
Farmer climate group’s water concern
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
PRECAUTIONARY PRINCIPLE: Longreach grazier Angus Emmott urges a cautious approach to development in arid lands around the Great Artesian Basin.