Have your say about the future of the Great Artesian Basin

Australians have an opportunity to state their support for protecting one of our nation’s most valuable and important resources: the Great Artesian Basin.

At about 1.7 million square kilometres and containing about 65 million gigalitres of water (enough to fill Sydney Harbour 130,000 times) it’s one of the world’s largest groundwater basins, covering most of Queensland as well as parts of New South Wales, South Australia and the Northern Territory. If it was a country, the Great Artesian Basin would be the 17th largest country in the world.

Hundreds of regional communities and countless farmers depend on the basin’s water, which supports almost $13 billion worth of production a year.

This is now at risk from a proposed three-year trial to capture waste carbon dioxide from the Millmerran Power Station in Queensland and pump up to 330,000 tonnes of it deep into the basin. The trial is being proposed by a subsidiary of multinational coal-mining giant Glencore, and has one more hurdle to get over: approval by the Queensland Department of Environment and Science. Curiously, the trial has not been assessed under the federal Environmental Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999.

Farmers have raised substantial concerns about the risk that water in the basin could be irreversibly contaminated by the trial. One Nation responded by successfully moving a Senate inquiry into the trial. The inquiry is now accepting submissions from the public, so if you want to have your say about the future of the iconic Great Artesian Basin, please consider writing a submission by visiting the inquiry’s webpage. Submissions close on 2 May.