QLD govt owned corporation SunWater secretly supplying water to Adani’s coal mine
Queensland Government-owned water corporation SunWater has secretly entered into contracts with Adani, according to documents identified through a Right to Information request. But the Queensland government is shielding Adani from scrutiny and refusing to outline details of the secret water deal. The new information could shed light on the source of water for Adani’s Carmichael coal mining operations, which have been shrouded in secrecy.
In 2021 Adani lost a Federal Court challenge on the approval of a pipeline to transport river water for use at the Carmichael mine, the North Galilee Water Scheme (NGWS). The NGWS remains in limbo with the Federal Government still expected to be required to make a decision. However, Adani has implied it may no longer require the NGWS pipeline, raising questions about how Adani would be able to cover a potential 8 billion litre annual water supply shortfall needed to operate the Carmichael coal mine.
A Guardian investigation last year showed Adani had adopted a strategy of obscuring details of its water plans. In response, the Queensland Government said it would not make inquiries about Adani’s water plans for the Carmichael coal mine, despite the company’s public claims it has an undisclosed new source of water that is “commercial in confidence”.
In dealing with the Right to Information request Sunwater identified 96 separate documents that contain communications between the government-owned water corporation and Adani. SunWater has refused to release the documents, arguing that the documents are “commercial in confidence”.
Wangan and Jagalingou Traditional Owners are calling for the Queensland government to make clear the details of SunWater’s supply of water to Adani and rule out renewing or extending any water contracts. SunWater is a publicly owned entity, trading a publicly owned resource and supplying that resource to Adani’s coal mine. The public has a right to know how much water SunWater is providing Adani and under what terms.
Contact Water Minister Glenn Butcher and call on him to make public the details of SunWater’s business dealings with Adani. How much water is the Queensland government-owned corporation supplying Adani? Where is the water coming from and how is it being transported? How much is the Queensland government charging Adani for this water? Is Adani getting another special deal and paying less than other companies? What is the duration of any contracts and how did the contract come about?
The Queensland Government is secretly handing over Queensland’s water for Adani to wash its climate-wrecking coal and suppress dust at its destructive mine. The Queensland government has already given Adani approval to take an unlimited amount of groundwater, which will drain precious underground aquifers. Now the government is secretly handing over more water to Adani in another dodgy deal.
Traditional Owners of the land Adani is digging up for its coal mine, the Wangan and Jagalingou cultural custodians, are concerned the Queensland government is secretly providing water to Adani that is enabling the destruction of their country and are demanding the Queensland government not renew or extend any existing contracts SunWater has with Adani.
The Queensland government has already given Adani a licence to take an unlimited amount of water from the Great Artesian Basin. Now they’ve entered into another dodgy and secretive deal to hand even more water over to Adani that will lead to further destruction of Wangan and Jagalingou country and culture.
Adani’s water plans have been shrouded in secrecy. Last year the Queensland government refused to look into Adani’s undisclosed sources of water. Now it appears the Queensland government’s water corporation is the source of that water.
The Palaszczuk government has form when it comes to giving Adani special deals. It has already given Adani a special royalties deal that will cost Queensland taxpayers hundreds of millions of dollars. This looks like another dodgy deal that rips off taxpayers to hand Queensland's precious water to a destructive coal mine.
The Queensland Government needs to make public the details of SunWater’s involvement with Adani’s climate wrecking coal mine. Water Minister Glenn Butcher needs to tell Queenslanders how much of their water is being supplied to Adani’s coal mine via a Queensland Government company. Where is the water coming from and how is it being transported? How much is the Queensland government charging Adani for this water? Is Adani getting another special deal? What is the duration of any contracts and how did the contract come about?
The Queensland government can’t be trusted to scrutinise Adani’s impacts on water and the environment. The Queensland Government is responsible for regulating Adani’s mine and water use, but Adani is buying water directly from them. Serious questions about the nature of the relationship between Adani and SunWater need addressing.
Adani has an appalling track record of breaches that proves it can not be trusted to look after water and the environment. It is highly inappropriate for a Queensland government-owned company to be working with an environmentally-destructive company like Adani. In 2017, Adani massively breached their licence at the Abbot Point coal terminal by releasing coal-laden water into the sea near the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park. In 2018 Adani drilled groundwater bores without approval. In 2019 Adani released polluted stormwater from its Abbot Point coal port into the environmentally sensitive Caley valley wetlands.