Mining and petroleum companies have been exempted from water use caps at the expense of our rivers, aquifers and freshwater wildlife species.

The Australian Conservation Foundation (ACF) has endorsed the recommendations of the Productivity Commission calling for special water entitlements for mining companies to be scrapped.

In its latest review the Productivity Commission notes the National Water Initiative was created in 2004 to manage Australia’s water resources and to determine how water is shared. It caps water consumption, but mining and petroleum companies have been exempted from the cap at the expense of our rivers, aquifers and freshwater wildlife species.

This has allowed mining projects to be given special water deals such as the one granted to Adani’s dirty coal mine project. Adani has the right to take unlimited amounts of ground water, potentially threatening ecologically sensitive sites like the Doongmabulla Springs Complex.

ACF Director of Campaigns, Dr Paul Sinclair, said: “Water is the lifeblood of inland Australia’s natural landscape and communities. The fact that mining companies get to exploit this at the expense of our natural world makes a mockery of the entire system. 

“Large sections of Australia are presently in drought, so why on earth are we giving big, polluting mining companies special deals on water?

“Burning the coal from projects like Adani’s mega-mine will threaten all of us by super-charging climate change. It will fast-track coral bleaching on the Great Barrier Reef and create more intense drought and bushfires. It is totally unconscionable for our elected representatives to give big miners, like Adani, special treatment.”

The Productivity Commission report comes as it was revealed today that the Queensland government is considering spending $100 million in public funds on a road for Adani’s Carmichael mine, despite promising during the Queensland election that no public money would be spent on the mine.

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