‘You can’t drink coal’ was the point made by activist and Adelaide Hills writer Ben Winch when he locked himself to a cattle grid on Stratford Road near Mt Coolon, stopping Adani’s construction work on their rail corridor this morning.
‘Adani wants to take almost as much water from the Suttor River as all the agriculture users combined,’ said Mr Winch.
The protest site was 20km from the Suttor River and comes as Adani goes back to court over its controversial scheme to pump 12.5 billion litres of water per year from the Suttor.
‘And that’s just the Suttor,’ said Mr Winch. ‘It also has an unlimited licence to deplete and pollute the Great Artesian Basin (GAB), the only source of fresh water for hundreds of towns and farms across inland Queensland, New South Wales, South Australia and the Northern Territory.’
Water licence challenged
This week Adani’s water licence has been challenged in the Federal Court, with Australian Conservation Foundation (ACF) appealing the Morrison government’s decision not to apply the ‘water trigger’, under which large water users are independently assessed for environmental impacts.
In June 2019, ACF won a previous appeal when former Environment Minister Melissa Price admitted she failed to consider valid submissions.
Mr Winch said ‘Adani misled the government about land-clearing, were recently fined $100 million for overcharging other mining companies at Abbot Point, and haven’t paid any tax since they’ve come here. They are not a responsible company. By their own estimate the Carmichael mine will use as much as 13 Olympic swimming pools of water per day. The reality may be much, much more. For our government to approve this level of water waste is suicidal. You can’t drink coal.’