13 February 2023.

Drinking water in the Great Artesian Basin could potentially become contaminated if a proposed carbon capture storage project goes ahead, AgForce has warned.

In a bid to prevent this, the agriculture organisation is calling for an extension to a public notification period for the project’s Environmental Impact Statement.

The GAB is a unique pristine underground storage system that provides water for more than 120 communities as well as food and fibre producers, across over 70 per cent of Queensland.

Glencore’s proposed trial Surat Basin Carbon Capture and Storage Project aims to demonstrate the effective permanent storage of captured carbon dioxide (CO2).

It suggests pumping liquified COfrom Millmerran Power Station into that pristine and unique water storage system, leading to irreparable damage to aquifers and making drinking water unsafe.

AgForce CEO Michael Guerin said contamination of the water supply would have significant impacts across an important water source for human drinking water as well as impacting on general urban and industrial uses, including agriculture and the future expansion of food and fibre production.

“The issues that could well be overlooked without an extension and further consideration are potentially significant and permanent, and cross community, environment, social and economic dimensions,” he said.

“Without this extension, the inadequate consideration to the project risks potentially contaminating human drinking water.

“Approving the project would also set a concerning precedent for future impacts on a vitally important water source for Basin communities, agriculture and other industries - not to mention the cultural and environmental importance of the GAB.”

Written submissions for the proposed project are invited from any person but will conclude on 23 February.

AgForce is also seeking an urgent meeting with the State Government to provide more detail relating to the concerns.

Mr Guerin added: “This proposal and the associated regulatory changes being sought are of a serious nature and we have a duty of care to industry and our communities to ensure that broader consideration is given.”


Media contact: AgForce CEO Michael Guerin 0488 002 092