The mining industry in Queensland is once again getting a free pass at the expense of the Great Barrier Reef and local communities, as more than 20 mines discharge polluted mine water into waterways flowing into the Great Barrier Reef.
“Relying on the ‘dilution is the solution to pollution’ mentality risks the health of our waterways, our Reef and the communities who rely on them,” said Australian Greens spokesperson for the Environment, Queensland Senator Larissa Waters.
“Why should the mining companies get a free pass on their environmental responsibilities with the cheapest option of dumping their polluted water into Reef catchments when they receive $11 billion annually in subsidies?
“The Newman Government should stand up for Queenslanders instead of the mining barons, and require mining companies to fund a safer and more sustainable disposal alternative, such as reverse osmosis to purify the wastewater of salt and heavy metals.
“There should be renewed scrutiny of flood-event preparedness in Environmental Impact Statements and serious consideration of these risks before new mines are approved – particularly as we can only expect more extreme weather events as climate change intensifies.
“What terrible timing to allow the dumping of contaminated water right as the Australian Government’s report to UNESCO on the health of the Great Barrier Reef is due, further risking a World Heritage in Danger listing for our most precious tourism icon.
“The Newman Government, like the Labor Government before it, makes a mockery of the mine approval process when it routinely gives out exemptions from the need to comply with the mine’s original environmental conditions.
“The decision to allow this much mining discharge demonstrates that the Newman government cares more about short-term mining profits that the long-term health of Queensland’s environment,” said Senator Waters.