The Labor-Greens Government has quashed an attempt by The Nationals in Parliament, to ensure important safeguards are in place to protect Australia’s water aquifers.


It comes after Leader of The Nationals David Littleproud and Member for Flynn Colin Boyce moved an amendment to the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation (EPBC) Act so that the Commonwealth, as well as the Queensland Government, undertakes appropriate assessments of carbon sequestration projects.


“The Nationals fought for a common sense solution to ensure our farmers and communities have confidence in the approval process of carbon sequestration projects by asking for these projects to be assessed under the Federal Act as well,” Mr Littleproud said.


“The Nationals fully support carbon sequestration projects as a method to support the coal and gas industries abate their emissions but only in the appropriate place and once there is confidence in the science.


“The Great Artesian Basin is an important water source for farmers and communities in Queensland. It’s imperative we protect it and that proper, thorough assessments are undertaken for any sequestration project.”


The Nationals’ calls for greater safeguards follows concerns about a trial carbon capture storage project – which, if approved, will inject liquified carbon dioxide waste from the Millmerran Power Station into aquifers on the Western Downs.


“Primary producers have legitimate scientific concerns about this project that should be thoroughly and transparently investigated by the Queensland Government before any approval is provided.


“While we support carbon capture storage, it has to be in the appropriate place. The technology is emerging and we support that, but it has to be done at an appropriate pace where we have confidence in the approval process.


“At the moment, the Queensland Government determines the process, despite projects involving national environmental assets that should also trigger, under the EPBC Act, the water trigger. We have a responsibility to protect the environment.”


Member for Flynn Colin Boyce said the Great Artesian Basin is one of the largest underground freshwater resources in the world.


“We must protect the water assets of Australia, especially when it comes to carbon sequestration and the future of the Great Artesian Basin,” Mr Boyce said.


“The current EPBC Act doesn’t go far enough in ensuring the appropriate approval process is in place – the fact the Greens didn’t support the amendment shows they are nothing but hypocrites.


“The Nationals are doing everything we can in Canberra to put some protocols around carbon sequestration, or the injection of carbon dioxide into the Great Artesian Basin, to ensure the prosperity of this future water source.”

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