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.

OPINION: How my coastal paradise became a warzone

RACQ Capricorn Rescue Helicopter Service returned to Gladstone to refuel after it found a missing yacht washed up on rocks west of Middle Island this morning.

Life after dark in this beachside suburb is not what you'd expect

Higher booze prices 'best way to combat abuse'

Should taxes be raised further on alcoholic drinks?

Report examines best ways to combat alcohol and violence

8800 complaints about water, energy bills in Queensland

Maree Skellern from Tweed Heads Kindy Care showing the dramatic changes in the latest power bill.

More than $320,000 in billing adjustments

Local Partners

All aboard for reno, new menu at Little Boat Espresso

Like your fish cured in Hendricks Gin with candied bacon kransky? This cafe is adding a night menu, local craft beer and cocktails.

WATCH: NASA space station is live, see the view from above

In this picture taken from NASA's International Space Station from April 2015, the SpaceX Dragon is captured with the 57.7-foot-long Canadarm2 robotic arm before its installation to the Harmony module.

See the world from a new perspective as space station passes Rocky

Community garden set for Palmwoods

Kay Nixon at the Palmwoods Community Gardens will be hosting a launch day and inviting the ecommunity to come along and sign up.

Parcel of land to supply sustainable gardening for community

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

All aboard for reno, new menu at Little Boat Espresso

Owners of Marcoola café Little Boat Espresso plan to expand Little Boat Espresso to include late nights with a new liquor licence approved for next month.

Popular cafe undergoes renovations, adds night service

Tom Cruise credits success to Scientology

Tom Cruise

Tom Cruise credits his success to Scientology

Hacksaw Ridge leads AACTA Awards nominations

Andrew Garfield and Teresa Palmer in a scene from the movie Hacksaw Ridge.

MEL Gibson's wartime drama opens in cinemas next week.

ABBA to reunite for virtual live experience


ABBA have confirmed they are to reunite - in virtual reality form

Hugh Laurie receives star on Hollywood Walk of Fame

Hugh Laurie on the Hollywood Walk of Fame

Hugh Laurie and his star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame

Blake Lively hosts 40th party for Ryan Reynolds

Blake Lively throws husband Ryan Reynold's 40th birthday bash

Tough times in CBD: Woolies says goodbye Ipswich

Woolworths in the Ipswich Mall.Photo: Rob Williams / The Queensland Times

The last day of trading will be January 1

Look at me! Kath and Kim home up for sale

Kath and Kim from the iconic Aussie TV series.

'Crack open the Baileys and grab a box of BBQ Shapes'

How to fit 100,000 new homes on the Coast

Property, real estate, housing, suburb,  August 2016

Fitting 2m extra people in south-east Qld in 25 years a balance

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