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Qld government gives Adani water exemption

AAP logoAAP 9/11/2016 Evan Schwarten

The Queensland government has granted the controversial Carmichael Mine an 11th hour exemption to new water laws that could have seen the project subjected to further legal challenges.

The government has introduced new laws requiring Queensland mining projects to obtain a water licence, in an effort to reduce the impact on ground water.

But the Palaszczuk government on Wednesday added an amendment to the laws that will allow the Adani mine project, which has already faced significant legal action, to avoid court challenges to its water licence.

Under the amendment, projects that have already finalised proceedings with the Land Court will be able to obtain a licence from the government without being subjected to challenges from the public.

But the exemption will not apply to another controversial project - the Acland coal mine expansion on the Darling Downs - and the state's opposition has hit out at the Labor government over the disparity.

"There are members of this house who have done a deal with the government that will prevent other projects from going forward, in particular...New Hope's Acland stage 3 project, which has actually been going through an assessment and approvals process for longer than Adani's Carmichael mine project," Opposition mines spokesman Andrew Cripps told parliament.

Environment minister Steven Miles said the new laws removed a threat to the environment by reversing Newman government legislation due to come into effect next month that would have deregulated groundwater.

"Queensland's environment has been under threat from a ticking time-bomb - reckless laws passed by the LNP which were left waiting to commence automatically on December 6," Dr Miles said in a statement.

"After lengthy debate, the threat to the environment and rural communities created by those laws has been defused."

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