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The Independent Voice of
Central West Queensland since 1923
Central West Queensland

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22 June, 2020

Channel Country lacks mining protection

SEVERAL RISKS to Queensland Channel Country’s groundwater aquifers, wetlands, wildlife and cattle grazing industry following the potential expansion of the shale and tight gas fracking industry have been identified in the Federal Government’s latest report.

Securing the channel...Western Rivers Alliance believes unfavorable effects will come from mining Queensland's Channel Country.

The study identified that 64 per cent of the 116 chemicals used in shale and tight gas operations in Australia between 2011 and 2016 were of potential concern to aquatic health, with 33 chemicals declared as ‘very toxic’.

The Federal document comes after it was revealed the Queensland Government withheld the release of a report including recommendations from scientists that unconventional gas fracking be excluded from the Channel Country floodplains.

Spokesperson for Western Rivers Alliance, Riley Rocco, said mining for unconventional gas could have negative effects on the wildlife and local industries due to the fragility of the floodplains.

“The rivers and floodplains of the Channel Country are too precious to frack,” Mr Rocco said.

“Mining for unconventional gas would risk disrupting some of the last free-flowing desert rivers on the planet, and that would have terrible outcomes for wildlife and local industries like organic beef.

“Regulatory protections for the Channel Country need to be strengthened and that unconventional gas fracking should be excluded from the river and floodplain areas.”

The report notes that, in addition to more than 200 hazards identified, the Cooper Basin user group, a committee of stakeholders comprised of local landholders, traditional owners, local governments, and gas companies, identified further possible risks around infrastructure diverting flood flows away from the wetlands and permanent waterholes.

During the previous two elections, the Queensland Government committed to improving Channel Country river and floodplains protection, with new regulations regarding the preservation yet to be passed by Parliament.

The Western Rivers Alliance is calling for better protections for Channel Country rivers and floodplains, including a ban on unconventional gas mining.

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