Anger is rising among locals in the Southern Downs region of Queensland after council allowed a Chinese-owned company to mine 100 million litres of groundwater annually and sell it off.
The drought-ravaged community is currently forced to truck in water and is undergoing harsh restrictions which dictate how many cups of coffee they drink, how long they bathe, and how often they flush the brasco.
Last month, Southern Downs Regional Council voted to approve the mine and its associated project which can drain an aquifer beneath the Cherrabah Resort near Warwick of 96 million litres of water per annum. The wet stuff would then be trucked to the Gold Coast and bottled for commercial purposes.
What outrages farmers and landholders the most is that the approval was given just as the council was issuing instructions on water restrictions which limited residents to 80 litres of water per person per day. Their water supply has to be trucked in from a dam 75km away.
Royal Duke Holdings, which operates the Charrabah Resort, is owned by Chinese and was given the go-ahead to steal the underground water supply for Stanthorpe and Warwick in return for various conditions. The Australian reports that one of these conditions includes “upgrading nearby roads”. Hallelujah.
Naturally, none of the balderdash from the council will (pardon the pun) wash with locals like property owner and four-generation grazier Andrew O’Dea. He lives only 5km from the proposed water mine.
He told The Australian, “This mine is going to have a severe impact on our groundwater supplies. With the conditions the region is experiencing at the moment, I expected a different outcome.”
Unfortunately, Australians are waking up to the reality of councils and local government and how they exist not to assist citizens but control them. Councils are selling off assets, and tampering with the social fabric, such as by taking it upon themselves to abolish Australia Day.
Australians cannot just sit gulping like dazed mullets as this happens because this kind of behaviour is rogue and clearly outside the boundaries of their mandate which is simply to maintain public upkeep.
Mr O’Dea expressed his disgust at how the council had given no notice to landholders this decision on the water mine application was to be made.
“There is no excuse to justify taking 96 million litres of water a year out of the aquifer. The risk is just too high,” he said.
Bouncing briskly to the defence of her council, Southern Downs Mayor Tracy Dobie defended her position, claiming the issuing of licenses was a government matter and nothing to do with the council.
It the end, the logic might work in an absurd circular fashion. The cost of supply the town with trucked-in water has been given as $200,000 which sounds awfully small a sum. Each day truck movements of between 40 and 50 are required to gather and transport the 1.3 million litres of water from Connolly Dam 75km to Stanthorpe’s water treatment plant.
The question is, will they end up buying back the water from the Chinese if the drought fails to lift in 12 months?
It is an unbelievable situation for a council to place its people in. If there are 100 million litres of groundwater, and if it is safe to mine it, then shouldn’t that water go straight to the people of the Southern Downs?
How can it possibly be argued that such a life-sustaining resource has a better use making the communist Chinese even richer while parched Aussies turn to flake in the unending dry?