United call to halt Lake Eyre Basin fracking approvals in COVID-19 | The North West Star | Mt Isa, QLD

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United call to halt Lake Eyre Basin fracking approvals in COVID-19

The Nowranie Waterhole near Camooweal is part of the Lake Eyre Basin.

Three organisations have jointly written to the Palaszczuk Government to stop all new fracking approvals on the rivers and floodplains of the Lake Eyre Basin until the protections promised at the last election have been put in place.

Lock the Gate, Environmental Defenders Office and Western Rivers Alliance were responding to a government move to delay indefinitely a second round of consultations about proposed amendments because of the current COVID-19 crisis.

Western Rivers Alliance spokesperson Riley Rocco said the region’s rivers and floodplains should be protected until the deferred public consultation process is complete and permanent protection measures are in place.

“We recognise COVID is impacting timeframes for introducing better protection to the Channel Country but the environment and the communities of the region shouldn’t have to pay for that,” Mr Rocco said.

“Placing a moratorium on all new gas mining activities on the rivers and floodplains of the Lake Eyre Basin will demonstrate to communities,Traditional Owners, industry stakeholders and the public the government is committed to addressing concerns over the future management of this globally significant river system.”

Lock the Gate Alliance Queensland spokesperson Ellie Smith said the government promised to protect these precious river systems and to publicly release a study on the impact of fracking in the Lake Eyre Basin, but neither has happened.

“Gas companies should not be allowed to run rampant across this iconic landscape while the coronavirus crisis distracts public attention,” Ms Smith said.

Environmental Defenders Office spokesperson Revel Pointon said a moratorium would be a show of good faith in protecting the precious Lake Eyre floodplains.

The joint letter was sent to Ministers Leeanne Enoch (Environment, Science and the Arts), Anthony Lynham (Natural Resources, Mines and Energy) and Cameron Dick (State Development, Manufacturing, Infrastructure and Planning).

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