Pollies to be flooded with questions about mine water

DEPUTY Premier Jeff Seeney and Minister for Environment and Heritage Protection Andrew Powell will face a barrrage of questions relating to mine water releases when they arrive in Rockhampton today.

Capricorn Conservation Council co-ordinator Michael McCabe, who will speak with the MPs, is concerned the bill Mr Seeney introduced to parliament last week could endanger Rockhampton's water supply.

The Newman government maintains the draft bill will only allow mines to release water in emergencies and is a response to the Floods Commission of Inquiry.

But Mr McCabe said the best way to resolve problems releasing mine water would be to amend current regulations and policy to prohibit new mines on flood plains.

"And require current coal mine operators to improve their on-site storm water catchment management," he said.

Greenpeace yesterday condemned the bill.

They said lawyers who reviewed the draft bill for them discovered companies could simply argue the trapped water was an "unforeseen event".

Greenpeace argued the public would not even need to be informed according to the bill.

"There is one hundred thousand Olympic swimming pools of toxic water in Queensland coal mines that the mining companies want to release into a river that provides drinking water for Rockhampton and ultimately flows into the Great Barrier Reef," said Greenpeace campaigner Georgina Woods said.

"We realise there may be exceptional circumstances... but these laws go much, much further than that."

Mr Powell said mines were already authorised through conditions on an environmental authority to release water on a regular basis when water flow was at an appropriate level.

He added that water quality was the government's highest priority.


Mines can apply for a temporary emissions licence to release mine water in the Fitzroy catchment during an emergency.

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