While much of the activity in Saturday’s national day of action protesting the proposed $900 million government loan to Adani for its $5 billion Carmichael mine and 388-kilometre rail line took place in coastal locations, Longreach and Emerald are preparing for their piece of the action.
The Australian Farmers for Climate Action group has scheduled community forums in both towns, on October 16 and 17, making concerns about groundwater losses the centrepiece of the meetings.
Queensland coordinator for Farmers for Climate Action, Michael Kane, and central Queenslander, Mick Alexander, are promoting the events, describing them as an opportunity to hear from recognised experts in water management and the coal industry about how coal mines impact on land and groundwater.
Well-known as an opponent of the state government changes to water management laws that gave exemptions to the Adani mine, Tom Crothers is a keynote speaker for the events.
Mr Crothers is a former general manager of Water Planning and Allocation for Queensland, retiring from the public service in 2011 in natural resource management areas.
He’s since established Stellar Advisory Services to provide specialist services in the water planning, water management and water entitlement disciplines associated with primary production, mining and petroleum and gas operations.
There will be a panel at both events, consisting of Longreach grazier, Angus Emmott, ANU law student and fellow Longreach resident, Sara Graham, a Lock the Gate mine rehabilitation expert and south west Queensland farmer, Rick Humphries, and Mr Kane.
Aramac grazier, Jenny Todd, will be the MC.
The Australian Stockman’s Hall of Fame cottage is the venue for the Longreach event, running between 3 and 5pm on Monday, October 16, while the Emerald forum is at Kristen and Todd’s Cotton Farm on Marshall Road, 10km west of Emerald, between 11am and 1pm on Tuesday, October 17.
Barcaldine residents will have an opportunity to catch up with Tom, Rick and Sara in a casual setting on the Monday evening.
The meetings will be held against the backdrop of the recent announcement of Rockhampton and Townsville as joint cities for the mine construction’s FIFO workforce, described as an economic and jobs bonanza for the regions by Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk, and federal MPs, Michelle Landry and Matt Canavan.
The Minister Assisting the Premier on North Queensland and Member for Mundingburra, Coralee O’Rourke said the Carmichael Coal and Rail Project would provide a welcome boost for the local jobs and the north Queensland economy while ensuring strict environmental protections.
“There are now almost 270 strict conditions on this project to protect the natural environment and the interests of landholders and traditional owners,” she said.
Ms Landry, the Member for Capricornia, said she had no qualms with Adani operating in Australia, given the stringent environmental controls placed on them.
“This Carmichael mine is the most regulated mine site ever approved in this country,” she said.
“There really is no wiggle room for this mine to adversely damage the environment or to take unlimited free water.
“Adani is required to pay an up-front fee of $20M and is restricted to the equivalent of one per cent of the water available to neighbouring graziers.
“This should provide certainty of supply for local graziers and ensure the mine is doing its part to keep the Great Artesian Basin productive.”