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Media Releases · Nature & the Reef

New evidence highlights uncertainty of Acland expansion groundwater impacts

12 May, 2016

New Acland Coal given permission to have an extra groundwater witness, giving the company 'two bites at the cherry'.

Today the objection by the Oakey Coal Action Alliance against the New Acland Coal Mine Stage 3 expansion continues to be heard in the Queensland Land Court.

The length of proceedings are stretching out due to a controversial decision, as the court has allowed New Acland Coal (NAC) to have an additional new groundwater expert witness as NAC tries to bolster the company’s previous witnesses.

This morning Saul Holt QC cross-examined existing groundwater witness for NAC, Mr Andrew Durick on behalf of EDO Qld’s client Oakey Coal Action Alliance (OCAA). Mr Holt later will examine the additional new groundwater witness for NAC, Mr Brian Barnett.

Ms Jo Bragg, CEO and Solicitor for EDO Qld said, “It is unconventional and simply unfair for New Acland Coal to be given permission to have an extra groundwater witness, giving the company two bites at the cherry.

"New Acland Coal is attempting to bolster their evidence on groundwater because their first two witnesses on groundwater modelling and groundwater data did not inspire confidence.

"The key issue remains the risk of faulting on the predicted drawdown of groundwater and impacts on local water users."

Mr Frank Ashman, Beef Cattle Stud Grazier and President of the Oakey Coal Action Alliance said, "What we have heard during cross-examination of New Acland Coal’s water experts gave us no confidence that our precious water will not be impacted. There are so many errors coming out in that modelling.

"In fact the new groundwater models are alarmingly inconsistent, creating greater concern around the soundness of the company’s water modelling.

"Farmers objecting to this project have grave concerns about  destruction of groundwater. We simply can’t afford to risk groundwater, otherwise our businesses are worthless."

Environmental Defenders Office Queensland (EDO Qld) gives a strong legal voice to the environment when needed most.

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