Deputy Premier Jeff Seeney.
Deputy Premier Jeff Seeney. Sharyn O'Neill

Seeney responds to criticism over mine water discharge

LET me again put the facts on the record regarding mine water releases into the Fitzroy Basin through the current wet season.

Through the recent flood event, 10,000 megalitres of water was released from mine sites representing 0.18% of the total flow through the Fitzroy system.

By contrast, under the Bligh Labor Government in 2011-12 more than 17,000 megalitres was released, but again it represented a negligible 0.3% of total flow.

In the 2010-11 wet season 200,000 megalitres was released from the mines and contributed 0.5% of the total water flow.

Claims that this government has given mines a "free ticket to pollute" (The Bulletin Letters section February 8, 2013) are wrong.

If the water is "toxic" as Opposition members Bill Byrne and Jackie Trad continually imply, why did their Labor Government allow releases into the river system?

The truth is that they are simply scaremongering, and the fact is there has been no impact on water quality.

As for the unfortunate fish kill in the river, Fitzroy River Water, a division of Rockhampton Regional Council, found that low dissolved oxygen levels in the water during the floods are the likely cause of the problem.

Other informed commentators have supported that view.

The Department of Environment is continuing to investigate the matter.

For two years after the last major flood event, the Labor Government had no answer, and no plan, to deal with water accumulating in the mines.

By contrast, last year the Newman Government initiated a pilot program for releases from four mines through this wet season as a start point to develop a long-term strategy to deal with mine water.

Water quality needs to be maintained as good or better than it is today.

The pilot program releases are being heavily monitored and after this wet season the state will have more data than ever before to develop a permanent solution to the mine water problem.

Our policy decisions will be based on science, not politics.

Information on water quality and mine water releases is available at www.fitzroyriver.qld.gov.au .

Written by Jeff Seeney, Deputy Premier and Minister for State Development, Infrastructure and Planning.



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