Tuesday, 17th October, 2017
FARMERS in central and western Queensland are opposing the Queensland Government’s plan to compulsorily acquire 3,568 hectares of agricultural land for a private rail line to a proposed coal mine.
The move was announced as farmers were meeting in Emerald over concerns about unlimited water licences being granted to the same coal corporation, Adani, for its Carmichael mega mine.
“It’s shocking that the Queensland government thinks it’s fair to compulsorily acquire 3,568ha of land from farmers to stitch-up a special deal for Adani’s private rail line,” said fifth-generation grazier, William Graham, who runs beef cattle on 50,000ha at Withersfield Station near Emerald.
“Our industry’s interests are being sacrificed for a project that will harm the future of our region. We knew Adani was taking water from agriculture with their free unlimited groundwater licence; now they’re taking our land as well,” said Mr Graham.
Farmers for Climate Action CEO, Verity Morgan-Schmidt, said: “The Queensland Government has broken farmers’ trust. They promised us that Adani’s infrastructure would be privately funded — not subsidised by taxpayers. Now they’ve handed yet another free gift to an international, multi-billion company.”
Sixth-generation grazier Angus Emmott, of Noonbah Station near Longreach, said: “This announcement shows the Queensland Government is putting Adani first and farmers last. Adani is being handed free groundwater, coal and $1 billion in public money while farmers are stuck dealing with worsening impacts of climate change like drought.”
Over the past two days, farmers and graziers have filled public meetings in Longreach and Emerald to express their concern over the mine’s impact on groundwater and grazing land.
The Longreach event, held on Monday at the iconic Stockman’s Hall of Fame, was attended by more than 70 locals, including more than 30 graziers. Many of them are in the grip of drought.
“Out here, water is life. We are well into our fifth year of consecutive drought and, like many graziers around here, we rely on groundwater to keep our livestock alive. We’re extremely concerned about Adani’s unlimited 60-year groundwater licence.” said Alex Graham, a third-generation Longreach grazier.
“As a community reliant on groundwater, this was an important meeting to attend and crucial information to hear. I’m glad I attended,” said Jo Jardin, Longreach grazier and tourism operator.
The Emerald meeting held on Tuesday attracted 45 locals to a shed on the property of local cropping farmers, Kristin and Todd Richardson.
“We hosted this meeting because we wanted to open up the conversation about the threats to the future of our farm and the water we depend on to survive as a viable industry,” said Todd Richardson.
The community meetings heard from Queensland’s former General Manager of Water Allocation Tom Crothers about the projected impacts of the Adani project on groundwater.