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Agforce takes Federal Govt to court over GAB carbon capture

Eric Barker, March 15, 2024

The Great Artesian Basin covers much of inland Qld, all of north-east South Australia, and part of north-west NSW and the Northern Territory’s south-east.

AGFORCE has filed court proceedings against Federal environment minister Tanya Plibersek after months of opposition to a proposed plan to inject waste CO2 into the Great Artesian Basin.

Mining giant Glencore, through its subsidiary Carbon Transport and Storage Corporation,  has been progressing through approvals for its plan to truck waste CO2 from the Millmerran Power Station and inject into the Sandstone Precipice Aquifer of the Great Artesian Basin.

While the plan is being dealt with by the Qld Government, which is now assessing the environmental impact statement, agriculture groups including Qld’s AgForce, have been calling for Ms Plibersek to intervene.

Her office has repeatedly stated that the matter was referred to the Department of Environment in 2022, which found the proposal was not covered under federal environmental law.

Today, AgForce Queensland Farmers Limited v Minister for the Environment and Water was filed to Federal Court, and is now on the public record.

Beef Central has applied for the court documents and understands AgForce is preparing to release more details tomorrow.

AgForce launched a fundraising campaign for the legal action last month.

In starting the campaign, the organisation’s chief executive officer Michael Guerin said while he was hoping to settle the issue out of court, there was a strong case against the Federal Government’s decision.

“We will leave no stone unturned in this campaign,” Mr Guerin said.

“We have strong and detailed legal advice showing we have a valid argument and good prospects of success.

“The Federal Minister has the authority to revoke the 2022 decision and we have provided the detailed reasoning that we believe allows her to make that revocation.”

Beef Central understands several donations have been made to the legal action from private producers.

The National Farmers Federation has also approved an application to the Farmers’ Fighting Fund to fund the action; the fighting fund is now going through its processes to see if it will be involved.

With a decision from the Qld environment department due in May, Glencore has stuck by the proposal,  citing extensive scientific modelling, including from the CSIRO.

But the plan has received strong opposition from a broad range of stakeholders, including local councils, scientists and politicians.

The case is due for its next hearing on March 27.

Queensland Farmers Federation is not involved in the action.

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