Mining companies, environmentalists make submissions
ONE may think getting mining companies and environmental groups together in the same room could result in confrontations, but that wasn't the case when both sides faced a parliamentary committee hearing on Wednesday.
A public hearing was held for mining companies, environmental groups and other parties to argue how a new environmental protection amendments bill, with a focus on underground water management, would affect them.
No nasty words were exchanged and each party took their turn when they fronted the hearing.
The amendment bill was introduced last month and was referred to the agriculture and environment committee, which is required to report back to Parliament later this month.
It is proposed the bill will strengthen the effectiveness of environmental assessments when resource projects propose to extract water from underground.
The effects this bill would have on stage three of the New Acland mine near Oakey and Adani's Carmichael Mine project in the Galilee Basin were discussed at Wednesday's hearing.
New Hope Group's chief operations officer Andrew Boyd from said the bill would mean more delays to the stage three expansion of the New Acland coal mine and could result in 200 job losses because of the delay.
"We ask that appropriate and sensible transitional arrangements be put in place so that this legislation, introduced at the 11th hour of New Acland's approval journey, does not result in further delays and the inevitable job losses that will result,” he said.
Adani environmental and sustainability head Hamish Manzi told the committee that the bill could create a "duplication process” and that if the Carmichael Mine would have to go through the processes again, it would result in more costs for both Adani and the government and delay the project.
Mackay Conservation Society's Peter McCallum spoke at the hearing by telephone, and said they supported the proposed bill.
He said a licensing system for groundwater usage was essential to ensure water was used efficiently and for the correct purposes.
"The outcome will be that mining companies are required to apply for a licence to utilise groundwater just as graziers and farmers are required to,” he said.
Lock the Gate Alliance campaign coordinator Carmel Flint also attended the hearing and said the group supported the bill but would be happy to see more points added.
- ARM NEWSDESK