CSG moratorium Bill critically important as risks to aquifers exposed

2 April 2013: KAP Leader and Federal Member for Kennedy Bob Katter says that the CSG aquifer drilling moratorium Bill he introduced in parliament should be implemented immediately after last night’s Four Corners program highlighted a flawed approval process which fails to properly address environmental risks to water supplies.

Mr Katter’s Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Amendment (Moratorium on Aquifer Drilling Connected with Coal Seam Gas Extraction) Bill 2013 that was introduced earlier this year places a moratorium on aquifer drilling for coal seam gas extraction.

In response to the story Mr Katter said, “The Four Corners exposé provides further evidence that the gas companies are running the State”.

Earlier in the year, Mr Katter told Parliament of reports that some 18,000 wells had already been agreed to by the Queensland Government – but even that may not be enough to make the three liquefaction plants in Gladstone economically viable, according to media reports.

“And all of these wells are going down in the very productive agricultural areas of Queensland, not in the bad-land areas where no one is going to give a damn”.

Mr Katter warned of the potentially catastrophic social and economic costs of CSG aquifer drilling contaminating the Great Artesian Basin, the lifeblood of Australia’s cattle and sheep industries, which produce about one-third of Australia’s agricultural export earnings and tens of thousands of jobs.

“If the underground aquifer was to be contaminated, or if it was to run down to a level where we could not economically extract water, then all of those industries would be impacted,” Mr Katter said.

“The ethanol industry has been sacrificed, major industrial operations have been compromised and Australian industries now have their backs forced up against the wall as a result of ridiculously high water charges”.

Meanwhile, as confirmed in the Four Corners report, Australia’s gas industry was almost completely foreign-owned, added Mr Katter.

“So what will Australia get out of it? Clearly, one of the things we are going to get out of it is mildly and sometimes seriously contaminated aquifers. But a very serious loss of our underground water supply.

“It’s appalling that the industries that reap great benefits for Australia like seafood, farming and cattle are having their water applications rejected for a measly 5 mega litres a month while local CSG operations have no trouble in getting 40 million litres a month from an industry that provides no financial benefits to the Australian community.

“Is it more important to make foreign corporations rich than to protect the future of our landholders and contamination of our water?

“There’s no money in it for Australia but I suspect there’s lots of money in it for the ALP-LNP corporations,” Mr Katter said.