Law Reform · Access to Justice

Have your say: Protect Qld's water resources!

17 December, 2015

Submissions are due on Friday 18 December 2015 for the Parliamentary Committee inquiry into the Water Legislation Amendment Bill 2015. 

This Bill provides Labor’s proposed amendments to the Water Reform and Other Legislation Amendment Act 2014 (Qld), passed by the LNP Government last year.

Let the Parliamentary Committee know:

X     The Bill should repeal the proposed statutory right to water for mines

We are outraged to see that in this Bill the government has not included the repeal of the statutory right to water which the former LNP Government proposed to provide to the mining sector. Our farmers still need to get a water licence to access water for their needs, why shouldn’t the resource sector? Providing a statutory right to associated water for mines will mean that the community will no longer have the right to have their concerns heard in Court with regard to water licence applications. This is an affront to the Land Court which recently recommended that the Alpha Coal Mine only be approved if the mine obtains water licences assessed in accordance with the precautionary principle. The water licence regime for the resource sector must be improved; providing them with a statutory right to take water is not the way to improve the management of these large scale water users.
Let the Parliamentary Committee know why you think the resource sector should be required to go through proper licencing application, assessment and community and Court scrutiny, to ensure better decision making to protect our water resources.

-     The Government must implement the principles of ecologically sustainable development (ESD) as the overarching purpose of all decisions in the Act, not just for one chapter!

We are happy to see the principles of ESD reintroduced into the Water Act, however, it has only been introduced to apply to water allocation/ licencing decisions under the Act (Chapter 2). All catchments and ecosystems across Queensland deserve the principles of ESD to be applied to decisions affecting our water resources. Further, the government committed to ensure all of its decisions which may affect the Great Barrier Reef are underpinned by the principles of ESD, including the precautionary principle, in the Reef 2050 Long-Term Sustainability Plan. By ensuring the principles of ESD are to be applied in all decisions under the Water Act, the government will ensure it meets its commitments to the World Heritage Committee, and that management of resource industry water users is in accordance with ESD.

✓     We support the repeal of the water development option

– which was to provide large scale water users (such as the Integrated Food and Energy Development proposing to extract 550,000ML of river water - more than Sydney Harbour) with a guaranteed right to water for their project prior to full environmental impact assessment.

✓     We support the repeal of the power to deregulate water use

– the LNP government proposed to provide government with the power to designate that water use from some watercourses would not require a licence. This Bill repeals that discretionary power and ensures that water use from all watercourses will require a licence whenever currently necessary.

How to get your submission in:

Guidelines for making a submission can be found here. Submissions should be sent to:

Email
ipnrc@parliament.qld.gov.au

Post
Research Director
Infrastructure, Planning and Natural Resources Committee
Parliament House
George Street
Brisbane Qld 4000

Submissions close 4.00pm Friday 18 December 2015.