Environmental Defenders Office (Qld) Inc

Help get Acland farmers across the finish line


The land around Acland, on the Darling Downs, is among the best 1.5% of agricultural land in Queensland. When Darling Downs farmer Frank Ashman (pictured below), of the valiant Oakey Coal Action Alliance, was asked why he was risking it all to take New Acland Coal and the expansion of their Acland coal mine to the Land Court, his answer was:  “grave concerns about the destruction of groundwater. We simply can’t afford to risk groundwater, otherwise our businesses are worthless”.

In a historic ruling last month, after 99 days of hearings, the Land Court held that the Acland mine expansion would cause significant disruption to the Walloon Coal Measures and the Marburg Sandstone aquifers. Furthermore, the Land Court found that the New Acland Coal groundwater modelling to predict impacts was simply inadequate. So, the Court recommended to government an outright rejection of the Acland Coal mine expansion. The weary objectors like Frank, represented by EDO Qld public interest lawyers, were both jubilant and teary after a huge battle.

But now New Acland Coal is using big mining money and muscle to try every trick in the book to overturn and block the 459 page Court recommendation. Paying for full page big expensive and misleading advertisements (eg the Court found 680 jobs not ‘thousands’), extensively lobbying politicians, and kicking off an aggressive fresh lawsuit last Friday in the Supreme Court.

If you’re a friend of the Great Artesian Basin and believe passionately in the protection of precious groundwater for the future, please make a donation today. We urgently need to raise $270,000 to help Frank and his friends fight New Acland, uphold the Land Court findings and see the expansion of the mine rejected.

You see, this fight is bigger than the local community: as a matter of principle we must stand up for the Great Artesian Basin, that incredible source of vital water in an arid land that extends across Queensland, New South Wales and South Australia – even the Northern Territory and is the lifeblood for primary production and regional communities. While there is a program to cap unregistered bores, and volumetric limits on water for irrigation, there is no cap on mining voids interfering with groundwater.

The Land Court found that make good agreements are simply insufficient to deal with long term impacts. And the Land Court made unprecedented findings on the importance of intergenerational equity in Queensland law - particularly in relation to groundwater impacts and the protection of agricultural production. Frank and his friends farm what is recognised as some of the best quality agricultural land in the world.

Put simply, upholding the key findings of the Land Court is vital as those findings will have long term broad impacts for the protection of water resources and agricultural land. It is vitally important that EDO Qld is able to help Frank and the other objectors defend the historic Land Court decision and ensure that these principles are reinforced by the Supreme Court.

The loss of groundwater poses serious threats to all of us that rely on continuing primary production for our quality food, and to wonderful natural ecosystems that rely on the Great Artesian Basin for their survival.

When you think of wondrous natural assets and ecosystems you might first think of the Great Barrier Reef. The Great Artesian Basin is also wondrous natural asset and it’s ecologically sustainable use underpins agriculture and natural ecosystems west of the Great Dividing Range.   

Please stand up for important principles regarding the protection of agricultural land and groundwater. Help us to defend the challenge to the Acland decision against the aggressive New Acland Coal mining company.


Contact Details

8/205 Montague Rd

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Yes, as soon as your donation is processed.