State environment department’s dismal record revealed ahead of carbon capture decision

Dec 14, 2023

KATTER’S Australian Party MP Bob Katter says given its track record in North Queensland, the State Government should have no right to destroy more of Queensland’s “nature wonderland” as it considers a trial to dump waste materials into the Great Artesian Basin.

The Queensland Government is expected to make a call in early 2024 on a proposal that would allow mining company Glencore to store carbon dioxide from a coal-fired power station, underground in a Great Artesian Basin aquifer – about 180km west of Toowoomba.

Mr Katter has backed the calls of farming and environmental groups which fear the proposal will contaminate agricultural water supplies, especially if the trial is successful and expanded.

“We call upon them to immediately stop the trial,” Mr Katter said.

“They’re drilling through the Great Artesian Basin. All of the wool industry of Australia relied upon that aquifer in 1990, when it was our biggest income industry.

“Town water supplies now rely upon it, as does the cattle industry. It’s essential water, not an ‘out of sight, out of mind’ holding place for carbon dioxide which allows Brisbane bureaucrats to appease their 2030 targets.”

Mr Katter said the Brisbane-based departments were already responsible for destroying the environment in North Queensland and should be “forced to spend at least a year, or be placed in the bush.”

“I doubt whether any of them have set foot into the scrub their entire life. How can you make decisions about our environment, thousands of kilometres away?

“You can’t, now let’s look at the evidence. One of the most iconic National Parks – Forty Mile Scrub has been destroyed by fire, leaving neem tree, lantana trees, and other invasive weeds, because our departments couldn’t manage it.

“Across the road is privately-owned grazing station – beautiful as ever, and survived the fires.

“And it’s been reported to me that Littleton National Park has also been destroyed in a similar manner, while the neighbouring cattle stations remain intact.

“The State Government signed us up to destroy Chalumbin with a windfarm on the verge of some of the last remaining jungle on earth – fortunately the Federal Government hasn’t allowed it and it’s been downgraded.

“So really, how capable are our State Government departments at looking after or making decisions about our environment?”