Groundwater mining companies access worth $100m: report

A report has estimated the value of groundwater to mining companies in the Galilee Basin.
A report has estimated the value of groundwater to mining companies in the Galilee Basin. Daily Mercury Archives

A REPORT estimates hidden subsidies from the Queensland Government to the coal mining industry, in the form of the value of groundwater accessed for free, represent at least $100 million in value for the Galilee Basin coal mines alone.

"This analysis reveals that the mining industry reaps a huge financial benefit from accessing public groundwater resources effectively for free," The Australia Institute research director and report author Rod Campbell said.

"Our analysis indicates that the value of groundwater that will be provided to the Galilee Basin coal mines for free, if they are all constructed, would be worth approximately $100 million.

"Our analysis is based on the economic value of groundwater used by coal industry economics consultants and expert assessments of the total volume of groundwater that will be intercepted by the Galilee Basin coal mines.

"If large volumes of a public resource are being granted to private enterprises through a veiled subsidy that is not made transparent to the public, at the very least the community has a right to expect strong regulatory controls on use of that resource.

Mr Campbell said in Queensland the Government is instead moving to weaken regulation of groundwater.

"Just last week, the Minister for Mines and Natural Resources moved unilaterally to declare the Carmichael coal mine as a 'prescribed project' and 'critical infrastructure' which will allow the water licensing process to be fast-tracked and could limit opportunities to interrogate the impacts of the mine on groundwater," he said.

"Queensland's coal industry already receives great financial assistance from the Queensland community through government funded infrastructure, favourable tax treatment and unfunded environmental damage.

"As the world seeks to decarbonise the economy, the Queensland Government should be moving to wind back subsidies of this nature and should be increasing protection of groundwater resources, not weakening them."

A Department of Natural Resources and Mines spokesperson said "all water users accessing groundwater, regardless of whether it is used for farming and irrigation purposes or to support a mining development, must obtain a water licence and adhere to the same fees and charges."

Topics:  groundwater industry mining report

Stay Connected

Update your news preferences and get the latest news delivered to your inbox.

Dinner with a twist

TOP SHELF: Dirty Dick's theatre restaurant is coming to Proserpine Entertainment Centre.

There is no award Dirty Dick's can't lay claim to.

Festival's attracting the best

ROCKSTAR: International ambassador of Airlie Beach Festival of Music 8 Ball Aitken will take to the stage.

Airlie Beach festival is where it all started for 8 Ball Aitken.

Jake is having a ball as new cruise ambassador

CUTE: Whitsunday Cruise Ambassador Gay Bowden with grandson Jake Bull.

The youngest cruise ship ambassador.

Local Partners

Minister: Boat ramp expansion will 'reduce congestion'

THE Proserpine River boat ramp will go through a major upgrade as two extra lanes will be added.

Barry Gibb is coming to Bluesfest 2017

FANS: Barry Gibb talks to a fan next to a cardboard cutout of his young self.

Aged 70, Gibb has re-launched his solo music career with a new album

Tim Finn headlining at Airlie Beach Music Festival

Music veteran Tim Finn from New Zealand will headline the Airlie Beach Music Festival.

Tim Finn: "It's the kind of festival that artists love"

CMC organisers: No more pre-sale tickets will be sold

US country music group The Dixie Chicks. Supplied by Chugg Entertainment.

UPDATE: Plenty of people unhappy with process

Check out some fashions from the Coast festival

FASHION: Ocean Zen range.

Images from the Sunshine Coast Fashion Festival show what's hot

Australian Survivor's magician Matt out of tricks

Australian Survivor contestant Matt Tarrant.

SHOW'S power couple looks unstoppable in race to the finish.

Top floor teams take out The Block's terrace week

Kim and Chris pictured on their winning outdoor terrace in a scene from The Block.

RIVALS Kim and Chris and Julia and Sasha tie in final week of work.

Beating the drum for Africa

AFRICA NIGHT: Vari Galletly, Sue Tuck and Pam Harrison call for support.

Invictus will be played at WACC for Hakuna Matata night.

Dinner with a twist

TOP SHELF: Dirty Dick's theatre restaurant is coming to Proserpine Entertainment Centre.

There is no award Dirty Dick's can't lay claim to.

Bob Dylan slammed as 'arrogant' for Nobel silence

Nobel Prize winner Bob Dylan.

Singer the controversial winner of literature Nobel

Hinterland horse stud passed in for $8.25 million

UNREAL: This Maleny estate is incredible.

12-bedroom hinterland horse stud still available

Hit songwriter's Noosa mansion on market

SPECIAL PLACE: The Cintamani estate is going to tender, marketed by Tom Offermann Real Estate.

Is this Queensland's best property?

Kiwi siblings snap up Dotcom mansion for $32.5m

The new toy company owners of the Coatesville mansion want replace any controversy with positivity and fun. Photo / Barfoot and Thompson

The trio paid $32.5 million for the property in June

New $200 million development will create 580 jobs

Cassie And Josh with baby Alfie and daughter Andee. They have bought at new Lennox Head development Epiq.

Majority of new positions will be given to Northern Rivers locals

Cherrabah's mega resort plans axed

PLANS for a massive development at Cherrabah have been scrapped.

What our mayor thinks of the new draft SEQPlan

The plan to use the innovative technology as part of the new Maroochydore CBD was cemented on site today when Mayor Mark Jamieson and Envac Asia Region president Chun Yong Ha formally signed the contract for the $20 million underground waste collection system.

New plan accommodates Sunshine Coast Council's vision for growth.