Green groups fume over Adani's water licence exemption
ADANI has praised the Queensland Government for exempting their Carmichael mine from new water licensing laws.
But green groups claim the government has betrayed voters and put the Great Barrier Reef at risk.
In the early hours of Thursday morning the Queensland Parliament voted to support groundwater legislation that requires mines get licences to access groundwater.
But the government made exemptions for advanced mines that have approved environmental impact statements and Land Court decisions in their favour.
This amendment meant Carmichael would be exempted but the New Acland coal mine expansion near Toowoomba would not.
Australian Marine Conservation Society Great Barrier Reef campaign director Imogen Zethoven said the government was giving Adani "special treatment".
"The government was elected on the basis it would protect the reef but now it is adding to the reef's woes by hastening one of the world's largest coal mines which will fuel more coral bleaching and threaten the 69,000 jobs that depend on a healthy reef," she said.
"Adani's mega coal mine will leave our farmers' groundwater polluted and dredge a giant coal port in our precious reef waters but the Palaszczuk government is trying to silence community opposition by making up special rules for this foreign-owned mining company."
Adani Australia CEO Jeyakumar Janakaraj praised the decision to exempt the Carmichael project.
"By recognising an area of concern in this bill that might have opened up a new line of activist delays and addressing it, the Premier and her government has been true to their word," he said.
"We are very encouraged the government did recognise the balance between its commitment on water licensing and acknowledging that this work has already been done in our case, and that the new provisions as originally drafted risked unintended duplication and activist appeals.
New Hope Group managing director Shane Stephan said he expects the legislation will mean another year of delays and court challenges before the New Acland expansion can be approved.
"Rather than supporting struggling regional communities, this government is more interested in pandering to the green lobby and vocal minorities in an attempt to shore up electoral support in the metropolitan areas," he said.
Mr Stephan said New Hope supports the bill's objectives but said the New Acland stage three should be exempted from having to make water licence applications, which can be appealed in court, as it already had "detailed underground water impact assessment studies".