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Murray Darling Basin to be sacrificed for CSG

The risky coal seam gas industry looks set to secure millions of litres of groundwater from the Murray Darling Basin while the environment misses out, Australian Greens mining spokesperson Senator Larissa Waters said today.

The draft plan released by the Murray Darling Basin Authority (MDBA) appears to have doubled groundwater allocations, contrary to a $5 million study undertaken by the CSIRO over three years which recommended a 10 per cent cut to groundwater allocations from the Basin.

“The Environment Minister has questions to answer about how much of that groundwater is earmarked for coal seam gas,” Senator Waters said.

“It is unjust and unreasonable that the river stands to miss out on the millions of litres necessary to ensure its survival, while the CSG industry appears to have been given hundreds of gigalitres for free.

“300 gigalitres of groundwater per year is allowed to be extracted in the NSW region of Gunnedah-Moree alone, where there are plans for coal seam gas extraction.

“The Environment Minister has said this decision was made by the MDBA, while MDBA chair Craig Knowles has protested that he’s not the hand-maiden of the coal seam gas industry – obviously someone is, and Australians deserve better than this embarrassing blame-passing.

“Australians need answers right now as to why the river must miss out, but the CSG industry – an industry which treats water as a waste product – looks set to be given a free ride at the expense of the whole Murray Darling system.”

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