Miners could remove unlimited water under bill

COAL miners could be able to remove unlimited "associated water" from mine sites without a licence.

However, parliamentary committee chairman Ian Rickuss said the changes would provide greater protection for landholders.

The Queensland Parliamentary Agriculture, Resources and Environment Committee report into the Water Reform and Other Legislation Bill recommends a "statutory right for the take of associated water" by adopted despite concerns from green groups.

Mr Rickuss, also a Lockyer MP, said the bill would give far better protection to landholders.

"There are a lot more checks and balances for landholders now than there have been before," he said.

"I think it's a well-balanced bill that should give landholders more protections. And it lets miners know what the law is now."

Mr Rickuss said the bill brought "make good" provisions from the coal seam gas industry to the coal industry.

However, a statement from anti-mining group Lock the Gate said the change would deplete group water supplies.

"Queensland can scarcely afford to deplete its groundwater sources so recklessly," it said.

"For the wealthy, short-term mining industry to be given huge quantities of groundwater in regions where Queensland farmers and graziers depend utterly on their bores is unacceptable. Groundwater is our most precious resource, and for Queensland to prosper, its use must be sustainable in the long term.

"This reckless action by the Queensland parliament doesn't just affect Queensland. The Great Artesian Basin is an irreplaceable asset for inland Australia, and one state should not be allowed to jeopardise it in this way, just to fix water scarcity problems faced by their mining mates."

Mr Rickuss dismissed criticism from environmental groups stating they had misread the bill.

"I think a lot of the groups the green groups misinterpreted what it was all about," he said.

"They saw that sustainability wasn't placed at the highest point and they thought it was being removed. But it's not at all."

- APN NEWSDESK



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