This country gave the final approval for the construction of a controversial coal mine to be built by Indian company Adani.
"Climate change is the greatest threat to our reef's future and we can not risk opening up the Galilee basin for other major coal projects which would heat our oceans and lead to more stress on our handsome corals and reef", campaigner Shani Tager said.
The approved plan was the eleventh iteration of the groundwater management plan, and was previously independently assessed by the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO) and Geosciences Australia, which confirmed that the project met strict scientific requirements.
The mining company is now expected to start construction at the site within days.
State Oppostion leader Deb Frecklington labelled the decision a win for Queenslanders who need a job, but says it's just the beginning. The planned A$16.5 billion ($11.2 billion) investment would see the development of six open pits and five underground mines, five mine infrastructure areas, a coal handling and processing plant, heavy industrial area, water-supply infrastructure, rail line and off-site infrastructure, including workers' accommodation village and airport, according to the EIS. "Based on this advice, DES is satisfied that the groundwater management plan sufficiently establishes the main source aquifer of the springs as the Clematis Sandstone".
DES has sought additional commitments from Adani to undertake further scientific work over the next two years. This is needed to identify any potential contribution from other aquifers and strengthen the GDEMP.
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Created to better understand groundwater use impacts on the nearby Doongmabulla Springs, amid fears they could dry up permanently, and the broader Great Artesian Basin.
Adani Mining CEO Lucas Dow on Thursday said that the approval of the groundwater and black-throated finch management plans paved the way for construction on the Carmichael project to start.
Adani has been granted permission to re-run its groundwater models two years after mining commences. "People will rally in force to stop Adani - and the Greens will be right there with them", Senator Waters said. The project would also expand an existing 2.2bn-litre dam to 10bn litres.
The approval in question centres on Adani's proposal to manage the impact on artesian basin water supplies, which includes the ancient Doongmabulla Springs.
"The government conceded it did not properly consider more than 2000 public submissions from Australians with concerns about the mine and the water scheme", she said.