5 December 2023. Michael Guerin AgForce CEO.

It’s a proposal staggering in its scope, but also with the potential to destroy one of Australia’s most precious water resources.

I’m speaking about the proposal by Glencore to pump industrial waste into the Great Artesian Basin, a beautiful resource of water used by community, used by people, used by industry, and used by the environment.

It beggars belief that one of the natural wonders of the world could be under threat in this way.

I can’t personally get my head around this idea that we are working very hard to protect the Great Barrier Reef, to protect the environment, to recognise the community. Yet at the same time, to government is considering pumping industrial waste underground into the pure body of water that is the Great Artesian Basin.

The Great Artesian Basin (GAB) is one of the largest underground freshwater resources in the world. It is Australia's largest groundwater basin and crosses several of our states.

I want to give all our members the reassurance that AgForce will not stand for this, and we are part of a broad coalition of industry and community standing steadfast together against this proposal. Together our voices are louder.

We’re challenging the government approval process where it’s at now, where the EIS is under consideration by the Queensland Environment Department. If approved at that level it would then go up to the Federal Water Minister for consideration. Given the impact it will have on water supplies in Queensland and even further across the country, we will stand against it all of the way.

At the moment we’re working very actively with the areas of government responsible. We are hearing legal challenges. And Glencore needs to be clear about our intentions – if need be we will take this all the way to the High Court.

AgForce is not opposed to the CCS technology – where CO2 is pumped into the ground.

But this proposal - to pump industrial waste into a pristine water resource used by human beings in the environment - makes absolutely no sense from any angle.

Why it's even being considered, we don't understand.

We are flabbergasted that with all the options of empty ravines where we have previously extracted oil – that the Government, Glencore or anyone else would even consider pumping that industrial waste into a pristine water source.

But we have a broad coalition of industry, AgForce amongst them, and indeed entire communities working incredibly hard behind the scenes. The fact that there's a new media release and letters to the Premier coming out every week from a different organisation is no coincidence.

Be reassured we are doing all we can and have a broad community coalition of anybody who understands what’s at stake, saying this cannot be allowed to happen.