Federal Environment Minister Greg Hunt.
Federal Environment Minister Greg Hunt. Cade Mooney

Greg Hunt unmoved by Galilee Basin mine freeze petition

A PETITION demanding the Federal Government approve no more mines for the Galilee Basin in western Queensland has won more than 1000 signatures but Environment Minister Greg Hunt remains unmoved.

The campaign from the Galilee Basin Alliance on activist website change.org, calls on Mr Hunt to put a moratorium on mine developments "until we know whether the mines will leave enough water for the region's future".

The second major Galilee coal mine development from Indian-owned GVK Hancock was given Commonwealth the go-ahead on Friday.

When green lit by the Queensland Government earlier this year, Coordinator General Barry Broe warned at least 28 landholder bores near the western township of Alpha could be at risk.At least nine giant coal projects are proposed for the region.

Galilee Basin Alliance founder Denice Campbell pointed to a report commissioned by anti-mining group Lock the Gate warning of massive risks to water supplies if all the mines went ahead.

"We're just really worried about how these massive companies can come up with what they need to when they have (millions of dollars) at their disposal," she said.

"If there was evidence to say things would be fine, one can relax and say, 'We can have our cake and eat it too'."

To secure federal and state approvals, mining companies are forced to meet thousands of environmental regulations in a process that often takes years.

Barcaldine Mayor Rob Chandler said the council picks no side, but supported its own experts who examined environmental studies.

Cr Chandler said mining companies would be expected to ensure any water lost during mining would be replenished.
He said there were "a lot of people" in favour of the mines and "a few" who were not.

The economic benefits too meant more than just income for his region, a 54,000sqkm expanse with just 3500 people.
"(Towns of) Alpha and Jericho don't have a doctor," he said.

"Jericho does not have an ambulance."

"We would be looking for mines to create that critical mass to provide those services that we so desperately need and that's health, education, sewerage treatment plants and regulated air services from Alpha to Brisbane."

Minister Greg Hunt did not respond to questions about the petition, except to say any decision would be made in line with federal laws.