Communities welcome swift GAB protections

Published: 31st May 2024

The peak body representing Queensland councils along with several local government leaders have welcomed today’s announcement of a moratorium on any future Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS) project applications in the Great Artesian Basin (GAB). 
Today’s announcement comes a week after the independent regulator rejected an application for a CCS project and aligns with a key ask in the LGAQ’s State Election platform released on Sunday.
LGAQ CEO Alison Smith thanked the State Government for listening to the concerns of local government leaders on behalf of rural communities, as well as landholders, farmers and conservationists. 
“Councils and communities across Queensland rely on the Great Artesian Basin for everything from safe drinking water to agriculture, industry and jobs,” Ms Smith said.
“That councils, conservationists and farmers spoke with a united voice calling for the moratorium shows how critical preserving Queensland’s underground life blood is.
“It is simply not worth the risk with so many local communities depending on safe, secure water.”
Ms Smith was joined by a number of impacted mayors in welcoming today’s announcement of a moratorium by the State Government.
Banana Shire Council Mayor Nev Ferrier said, “We’ve got towns in the Great Artesian Basin that we need to look after, let alone the billions of dollars it generates for our economy as the biggest underground potable water resource in the world.” 
Western Downs Regional Council Mayor Andrew Smith said, “In our region, we have 40 per cent of cattle in Australia on feedlot, so it’s important to us, it’s important to the economy and the small communities that support the feedlot industry.”
Blackall-Tambo Regional Council Mayor Andrew ‘Marto’ Martin said, “Protecting the Great Artesian Basin is the right decision for the communities who live above and rely directly on it for drinking water and other uses but also for the rest of Queensland too.
“The agricultural industries that rely on a clean, uncontaminated GAB feed and clothe this nation and the world.
“Securing the future of the Basin secures the future of those communities and the jobs and industries in rural Queensland and all those along the coast that benefit from what it produces as well.”
Carpentaria Shire Council Mayor Jack Bawden said, “It’s just not worth risking one of Queensland and Australia’s most significant natural and economic assets no less important than the Great Barrier Reef.”
Etheridge Shire Council Mayor Barry Hughes said, “In my view the Great Artesian Basin is non-negotiable in terms of having it used as a dumping point for carbon, it is the lifeblood of inland Australia that shouldn’t be tampered with in any way, shape or form.”
Murweh Shire Council Mayor Shaun ‘Zoro’ Radnedge said, “We need to do whatever it takes to protect the Great Artesian Basin and we can’t risk it for the sustainability of our communities and the national economy.”
Balonne Shire Council Mayor Samantha O’Toole said, “We understand the importance of achieving net zero carbon emissions, but not at any cost. The GAB is simply too precious to act as a test case in these untested circumstances.”
Isaac Regional Council Mayor Kelly Vea Vea said, “We support decarbonization of industry but not at any cost and we know that it shouldn't be at the expense of the Great Artesian Basin.
“That's why we joined other councils in Queensland calling for a moratorium for any application for carbon storage and the Great Artesian Basin.”
Gladstone Regional Council Mayor Matt Burnett said, “From a Gladstone point of view, we are leading the way when it comes to renewable energy and energy transition but what we don’t want to see is the Great Artesian Basin ruined on the way through to chasing net zero by 2050.”
Toowoomba Regional Council Mayor Geoff McDonald said, “It’s just not worth the risk, with the unknown of what it could end up like, when so many communities and jobs rely on it.” 
Maranoa Regional Council Deputy Mayor Cameron O’Neil said, “The GAB is so important for communities like the Maraoa – bores give us potable water each and every day and our communities just wouldn’t survive without it.
“Our region relies on it, our survival in western Queensland relies on it and we need to protect this amazing resource.”
Burke Shire Mayor Ernie Camp said, “It’s too big a gamble to take. If we didn’t have the Great Artesian Basin most of Queensland would be running no stock and bringing no value to the state economy.
“It might be okay down there for 100 years or might be okay for a little bit longer than that but it is just too great a risk for the secure water source that brings life to much of Queensland and some of the other states as well.
“I totally agree we’ve got to do something with carbon but let’s not just shuffle the deck chairs on the Titanic – the Titanic still sank.”
For more information, please contact:
Dan Knowles, Media Advisor