Land use fury takes another steep turn

Queensland Country Life - 18.11.2010

LANDHOLDER anger has reached fever pitch this week with farmers openly declaring their loss of confidence in the State Government’s ability to fairly manage land use conflicts between mining and agriculture.
In further developments this week:

Dalby solicitor, Peter Shannon, has raised serious concerns that loopholes in State legislation give mining companies protection from Make Good provisions if they contaminate freshwater aquifers in the process of their extraction activities without causing a decline in water levels.

DERM decision makers have told landholders they do not have to physically inspect the location of farming areas when they approve mining developments in the same area.

DERM officers told landholders that in assessing an application by Arrow Energy to drill for coal seam gas between Dalby and Millmerran, they could not consider potential impacts to the Condamine Alluvium because their jurisdiction does not include deep aquifers.

The State Government was accused of making a mockery of its own Strategic Cropping Land legislation by granting approval to Xstrata’s Wandoan Coal project before the project could be assessed under the SCL guidelines.

A group of Wandoan landholders affected by Xstrata’s coal mining development in the region this week signed up to the national “Lock the Gates” campaign.

The APLNG project’s Environmental Impact Statement, recently approved by Queensland’s Coordinator General, states that effects on groundwater in the Walloon Coal Measures, which are used for stock and domestic water supplies and are directly connected to the important Condamine Alluvium freshwater aquifer, are likely to be “widespread and long-term (in the order of 200 years)”.

Greens leader, Bob Brown, accused the Queensland Government of lying down for the mining industry.

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