Minister hits back at incorrect claims by GetUp and Greens
2.25pm: THE Queensland Environment Minister has hit back at GetUp and the Greens claims the new water legislation has created a loophole for Adani.
The Greens Party and GetUp hit out at the new legilsation which was passed in parliament on Wednesday night, claiming it was giving special treatment to Adani for its Carmichael mine.
Both said Adani wouldn't have to apply for a water licence under the new legislation.
However, Environment Minister Dr Steven Miles said the fact was actually the complete opposite.
"Without these laws, they (Adani) would not have required a water license at all,” Dr Miles said.
"Now they will, and for the first time it will be decided on the basis of advice from an expert independent panel including the Chief Scientist. The decision will be subject to judicial review, but not a merits review in the Land Court.
"I understand some groups would have preferred to see another land court stage added - but these new laws will ensure an assessment of groundwater impacts occurs."
8:05am: THE Queensland Parliament last night passed laws that, while introducing some important water protections, give special treatment to Adani's Carmichael mine.
"While the Carmichael mine will still require a water licence, the rights of farmers and the community to stand up in court to protect their access to water have been taken away - but only for the Adani project,” Ellen Roberts from GetUp said.
"This special treatment for Adani is grossly unfair and privileges this project over all other water users. It seems as though Adani is now writing Queensland's water laws.
Meanwhile, the Greens Party are outraged that the Queensland Labor Government has caved in to Adani by weakening new groundwater laws so Adani won't have to apply for a water license.
"Queensland Labor were elected to 'save the Reef' but instead they've caved in to big coal creating loopholes to put Adani's Reef-destroying mega-mine on the fast track,” said Australian Greens Deputy Leader and Senator for Queensland, Larissa Waters.
"With this decision the Queensland government is condemning the Reef to worse bleaching and jeopardising the 70,000 jobs it provides.
"This government should honour its commitment to voters and invest in job-rich, clean energy that doesn't drive dangerous global warming, trash groundwater or place our already fragile Reef in further jeopardy”
GetUp alleges the Carmichael mine will use over 12 billion litres of water every year and have a devastating impact on local and regional water resources.
"We polled Queenslanders and found that 70% objected to foreign owned mining companies having free access to Queensland's ground water,” Ms Robert said.
"And 78% supported the right of farmers to stand up in court and protect their access to water.
"But unfortunately, in the case of the Adani project we've seen those rights significantly weakened. The Queensland government has put the interests of Adani ahead of the wishes of their voters and the rights of farmers.
"We congratulate Rob Pyne and Peter Wellington who fought hard to have stronger protections for water in this process, but were unfortunately unsuccessful.
"While the project has got special treatment from the Labor government, claims that Adani is exempt from a water licence are simply not true. The company will be subject to departmental processes, and will have their water use assessed by an expert panel.
"Big coal companies might be able to browbeat Queensland politicians, but the community is resolute - giving coal companies special deals must not be at the expense of everyday Queenslanders.
"GetUp members will continue to campaign for strong reforms to ensure the community's right to water is protected and mining companies aren't given a free run when it comes to our precious groundwater, ”Ms Roberts said.