Water is at crisis point for farmers, and should not go to Adani – activists
ANTI-Adani protesters are calling on engineering firm GHD to abandon its support for miner Adani and to support farmers in central Queensland, warning the state’s water resources are at crisis point.
Protests reached a flashpoint outside the Brisbane Convention Centre on Wednesday as a colourful convoy of 50 Stop Adani campaigners picketed and attempted to gatecrash the Australasian Groundwater Conference.
GHD is a joint sponsor of the conference and has come under public scrutiny over its work on Adani’s controversial Carmichael Coal Mine Project.
The activists want the engineering firm to commit to no further work on the project or any other coal mines in the Galilee Basin area.
It follows demonstrations at GHD offices including in the Sunshine Coast, Townsville and Mackay over the past few months in a bid to buckle the contractor’s support for the massive business.
Stop Adani organiser Moira Williams said there was a risk the Carmichael mine could drain groundwater reserves that graziers in Central Queensland relied on.
“Over the life of the mine, it will use 270 billion litres of water,” Ms Williams claimed.
“That’s a huge user of water when we know communities and farmers are struggling to access water.”
The Carmichael Mine, hailed as one of Adani’s largest Australian coal projects in years, has divided public opinion over claims about its job delivery, environmental impact and management.
The project is tipped to bring up to 1500 jobs to struggling central and northern Queensland cities.
An Adani Mining spokeswoman said activists do not speak for everybody in the community and it was “un-Australian” to “have a minority group put businesses and their employees at risk when they deserve a fair go”.
“Legitimate law-abiding businesses should be able to conduct their day-to-day business free of harassment,” the spokeswoman said.
“We are all for people having their say, providing people do it in a respectful and legal manner.
The spokeswoman said the Carmichael project would not take groundwater from the Great Artesian Basin due to a 300m metre of impervious claystone separating the water from the mine site.
Some people in areas such as Rockhampton, Townsville and Mackay are hoping there will be an economic boom that will revitalise struggling businesses and deliver a boost to FIFO sectors.
But Dermot Dorgan, who lived in Rockhampton for more than eight years, says times have changed since the city’s dependence on the mining boom.
“It’s been overhyped from the information that has been put out by Adani and the government, that there will be tens of thousands of jobs,” Mr Dorgan said at the protest.
“There’s a lot of hype about Adani, as if it’s going to be the saviour of central Queensland. I think people are going to be disappointed.”
A long-term contractor to Adani, GHD prepared an initial advice statement on the proposed mine in 2010 and the key environmental impact statement three years later.
A statement published in August on GHD’s website downplayed its role in the project, stating the details were “confidential” and they were “not responsible for the design of mine site infrastructure or construction”.