Queensland mining companies are about to have one of their Christmas presents taken away and they aren’t happy. The Newman government passed legislation to allow them uncontrolled access to underground water without a licence. That law is due to take effect in December. If the legislation is implemented then miners will have the right to water without a licence. There will be no appeal process. There will be no need for the water to be used sustainably.
The state government has introduced a new law which will prevent mining companies having unrestricted access to underground water. If the law passes it will mean that mining companies will abide by the same rules as farmers and graziers and obtain a licence.
The law is now in the hands of the parliament's Agriculture and Environment Committee. You can help ensure that the law is passed by making a submission to the committee. The website is:
In your submission you should say that
- You support the Environmental Protection (Underground Water Management) and Other Legislation Amendment Bill 2016 but it should be tougher in relation to ecological sustainability. If the principals of Ecologically Sustainable development are not followed then future generations may suffer; biological diversity may decrease; and, ecosystems may be disrupted.
- Mining water licences must consider Ecologically Sustainable Development and the Precautionary Principle.
- Currently most mines are required to obtain a water licence under the Water Act 2000 (Qld) for taking or interfering with associated groundwater (water required to be taken or interfered to access the resource) and non-associated groundwater (all other groundwater).
- People affected by the granting of a licence can challenge the decision in the Land Court.
- Water impacts should be assessed during the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIS) stage of an application for an Environmental Authority (EA) for a mine.
- An “associated water licence” must be obtained for projects that are already in the system but were expecting to not need a licence.
- Farmers and other businesses applying for water licences must adhere to the precautionary principle and the principles of ESD. Mining projects have far greater impacts on water.
Make a submission at