Farmers worried mega-mines will impact water in Galilee
MICK Alexander is worried about the future of farming in Queensland. The Rockhampton grazier travelled more than 300km to Mackay to attend a Farmers for Climate Action event on Sunday.
Mr Alexander, who was one of dozens of farmers at the event, said he believed major extractive projects within the Galilee Basin would leave farmers in central and western Queensland without secure or reliable access to groundwater systems.
"The future of the industry is being laid bare today," he said.
"Farmers will lose access to their water. If the nine mines go ahead where they are planned to go it will basically mean it will not just be impacting the water at the Galilee Basin but also on the Great Artisan Basin - which could spell the end of agriculture in those regions."
With more than 5,000 registered members nationwide, Mr Alexander said the membership of the Farmers for Climate Action group is indicative of opinions a large proportion of farmers hold concerning the development of new mega-mines.
Farmers for Climate Action Chief Executive Verity Morgan Schmidt said farmers are having to question what their future will look like.
"What it will cost is potentially the integrity and the guarantee and reliability of that water source," she said.
"The reality is if you undermine that water resource then you have no fall back in a time of drought.
"The reality is farmers, graziers and some of our guys out in Longreach who are not in the immediate impact zone but are still dependant on the groundwater in the Great Artisian Basin are in their eighth year of drought. Now you go tell a grazier that they are just meant to cope and adapt when their only source of water is being undermined right in front of their eyes."
The Farmers for Climate Action event brought together farmers and graziers from across central Queensland.
Mr Alexander said it was a way to begin group action among farmers to save their livelihoods.
"I think as farmers that we have to look out for the future of our businesses. We have to look after the future of our families," he said.
"We have no concept of how much damage could be done to the water table, to the above ground streams, to the bores in the district, the quality of water."
Finch Hatton landowner Michelle Ready lives on a cane farm run by her husband. Ms Ready said she does not like that farmers are paying more attention to the environmental consequences of mega-mines than politicians.
"People like politicians try and say it is a "scare tactic by unemployed smelly green activists' but it is not," she said.
"There is a consensus among most scientists world wide that climate change is real. It is not scare tactics by a radical group it is scientific fact."
Mr Alexander said he was confident that the Farmers for Climate Action may push legislative change because the group brings a new voice to the national climate debate.