Alliance labels gas land release ‘madness’
LOCK the Gate Alliance has condemned the State Government's recent release of 30,000sq km of land for gas exploration, labelling the move as "madness during time of extreme drought".
The release is roughly the size of Belgium, and includes large tracts of land in the Maranoa region, and neighbouring Western Downs.
But the green light for gas exploration has some residents concerned about water, as they continue to suffer through relentless drought.
"Despite recent rains many farmers are still facing extreme drought conditions, and we know from the State Government's own research that the coal seam gas industry has a devastating impact on groundwater levels," Cameby Concerned Citizens' group member and Chinchilla landholder Glen Beasley said.
"It is hard enough to find water at the moment. With the expansion of this insidious industry, it will only become more difficult.
"My property is currently under threat because the CSG industry wants to dump 15 million tonnes of its toxic waste at the headwaters of a nearby creek which forms part of the Murray-Darling Basin catchment.
"The threat is not just the depletion of underground aquifers, but there is the added aspect of biosecurity issues posed by the toxic waste this industry produces."
The Department of Natural Resources, Mines and Energy has refuted the claims of toxic waste, citing the role of the Office of Groundwater Impact Assessment's future modelling on the subject.
"Petroleum and gas exploration has minimal influence on groundwater, as it is a low impact activity," a department spokesman said.
"Under Queensland's make good regulations, if any bores are assessed to be impacted from resources activities, resource authority holders must 'make good' the impact."
The land release is the largest in Queensland's history, and was announced by Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk on Wednesday.
It was also announced that six ventures had been granted the right to explore the area, including Santos east of Roma, Real Energy/Strata-X west of Miles, and Westside/APLNG east of Taroom.