Members of the Western Rivers Alliance are today calling on the Palaszczuk Government to honour their repeated election commitment to protect the Lake Eyre Basin’s pristine rivers and wetlands from destructive activities such as oil and gas mining.

This comes after news that the Palaszczuk Government has granted production approval to Origin Energy to frack for shale oil across 200,000 hectares of the Lake Eyre Basin’s Channel Country in far southwest Queensland.

Riley Rocco, Western Rivers Alliance spokesperson said, “we are deeply concerned that the Palaszczuk Government has approved production applications for Origin Energy to frack Channel Country floodplains for shale oil.”

“This government has repeatedly committed to consulting with the Traditional Owners and other stakeholders to ensure this world renowned river and wetland system is protected.”

“We’ve been waiting nearly seven years for the promised consultation which began on Tuesday this week with the first meeting of the Stakeholder Advisory Group. To discover that the Palaszczuk Government has approved an application for Queensland’s first shale oil production in the Channel Country prior to consultation undermines this process.”

“The Lake Eyre Basin rivers and wetlands are rich in wildlife and cultural heritage. The Channel Country’s profitable organic beef industry relies on the floodplains being naturally irrigated from unhindered clean water flows. To allow new oil and gas mining here is to put the local community and wildlife at risk.”

Karen Monaghan is a Wangkangurru Yarluyandi Traditional Owner and member of Lake Eyre Basin Traditional Owners Alliance. She grew up in the Channel Country and continues to live in the region.

“The Channel Country is my mother’s Country. I grew up swimming in these rivers and I don’t want them fracked for oil or gas, dried out or dammed.”

“The Palaszczuk Government promised Lake Eyre Basin Traditional Owners we would have an ‘active role’ in making decisions for our country. I am incredibly disappointed to learn that these applications have been approved without consulting Traditional Owners or other stakeholders.”

By Hannah Schuch for the Western Rivers Alliance.

Cover image of Lake Eyre supplied