The Adani company would be able to avoid proper scrutiny of the impact of its proposed coal mine on groundwater, an independent review has found.

The Australian Conservation Foundation (ACF) has called on the Queensland Government not to approve Adani’s groundwater ecosystem plan after a former government adviser identified significant flaws that would risk the health of the Great Artesian Basin.

The review of Adani’s plan by Tom Crothers, a former Queensland government officer who has also advised the National Water Commission, found:

  • The plan paralyses corrective management actions to address environmental harm through never-ending investigations and analysis;
  • The plan’s focus on testing is designed to allow Adani multiple opportunities to deny responsibility for causing environmental harm;
  • The plan fails to identify potential impacts of the Carmichael coal mine on key ecological sites.

Commissioned by ACF, Mr Crothers’ review identified that not only would the groundwater plan fail to protect unique ecosystems such as the Doongmabulla Springs, it would also make it very difficult to hold Adani accountable for damage it caused.

Mr Crothers said: “Much of the groundwater plan for Adani’s coal mine needs major changes. It seems designed to achieve ‘analysis paralysis’ and to create situations where Adani can avoid being held accountable for potential damage it causes.

“It also fails to mention or acknowledge substantial impacts that the mine will have on nearby ecosystems.

“Put simply the plan is entirely inadequate.”

ACF Campaigns Director, Dr Paul Sinclair, said the review raised troubling questions about the Adani coal mine’s potential impact on groundwater.

“Adani’s groundwater management plan contains holes that are so big you could drive a coal train through them.

“The impact of Adani’s coal mine will be enormous. Adani’s coal mining has the potential to harm the Great Artesian Basin, one of the largest groundwater reserves in the world. Water that has been stored in Basin for over a million years could be threatened by Adani’s destructive coal mine and the Queensland Government owes it to our communities to protect it.

“Relying on a company that has a record of avoiding responsibility for environmental damage to self-monitor is naïve at best and negligent at worst.

“Our clean water is precious and, at a time when much of Queensland is in drought, to put the groundwater in the Great Artesian Basin at risk is deeply irresponsible.

“As the effects of climate change worsen the Queensland Government must protect the water lifeblood of inland Australia, not let coal polluters like Adani exploit it at the expense of our environment and communities.”

ACF Media Enquiries

Journalists with enquiries may contact Josh Meadows on 0439 342 992. For all other enquiries please call 1800 223 669 or email [email protected]