EPBC WATER TRIGGER AND BILATERAL AGREEMENTS MUST GO THROUGH SENATE TO PROTECT WATER RESOURCES

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Media Relese 15.5.2013
Namoi community Network

Tomorrow the EPBC Water trigger will be voted upon by the Senate, the trigger and the bi-lateral amendments are fully supported by the Namoi Community Network. The security of water resources and water quality remain the prime concerns for the Namoi Community Network. “It became apparent as the Namoi Water Study concluded there will be significant detrimental impacts to the water resources of the Namoi Valley from extractive industries, unless protection is provided under Federal legislation.” Said Hugh Price Chairman of the NCN

Mr Price said “Water is a national environmentally significant issue and is required for the long term sustainability of this country, giving us capacity to use our prime agricultural soils for food production. Just as the Murray Darling Basin Plan is managed Federally so must the water trigger in the EPBC, actions taken by mine water interference will effect more than one state and should be managed accordingly”

John Hamparsum Breeza farmer and member of the Namoi Community Network has this issue at the front of his mind as the Watermark Coal mine Environmental Impact Statement has just closed for public comment. “The EPBC Water trigger and the amendment to the bi-laterals are imperative to ensure appropriate assessment and process is put in place to protect the water resources that provide food and fibre for our country. Where there is mining there will be impacts. It’s the degree of impacts that determine if it’s high or low risk. The Namoi Water study highlighted the cumulative impact of mining and CSG drawdown on groundwater resources close to the mine near our farm at Breeza is high risk at over of 5 meters drawdown impact, however the EIS for the Watermark mine indicates between 1-2 meters drawdown this means that the mine is under the Aquifer Interference trigger and won’t be fully assessed.

“To abdicate this responsibility to the States, does not guarantee a proper scientific appraisal will be completed before operational approval is granted, or even before exploration licences are given and financial incentives received.” Said Mr Hamparsum.

The Coalition are on record as recognising community concerns regarding the impact of coal seam gas and coal mining on water resources. The have stated they understand that water is a precious resource. They are also on record stating that mining companies should not have free reign and should only operate where there is a community licence to do so.