Miles more protections for Great Artesian Basin

Published Friday, 31 May, 2024 at 10:10 AM


The Honourable Steven Miles

Minister for Agricultural Industry Development and Fisheries and Minister for Rural Communities
The Honourable Mark Furner

Minister for Regional Development and Manufacturing and Minister for Water
The Honourable Glenn Butcher

Minister for the Environment and the Great Barrier Reef and Minister for Science and Innovation
The Honourable Leanne Linard

  • Miles Labor Government today announces a ban on carbon capture and storage in the Queensland component of the Great Artesian Basin
  • Independent assessment supports Queensland for a cleaner future
  • The ban builds on the state government’s protection of Lake Eyre Basin and new laws locking in 75 by 35 emissions reductions targets  

New Premier Steven Miles has today banned carbon capture and storage in the Great Artesian Basin in Queensland.

Greenhouse gas storage activities, including carbon capture and storage projects, will be permanently prohibited in the basin as part of the move to protect the critically important resource.

The ban also extends to enhanced oil or petroleum recovery activities that use a greenhouse gas stream.

The ban, which will be legislated, clarifies that activities involving greenhouse gas storage or the injection of a greenhouse gas stream into underground formations within the Great Artesian Basin are not permissible.

These activities may be able to continue in other parts of the State subject to rigorous existing assessment and approval processes.

To support this, a Technical Expert Panel will review the safety aspects of greenhouse gas storage for areas outside the Great Artesian Basin. The Panel will be appointed soon and will report back in 2025.

The upcoming State Budget will also provide up to $32 million to continue the successful bore capping program, with Queensland seeking a matching contribution from the Australian Government.

This funding will support the implementation of the Great Artesian Basin and Other Regional Aquifers Water Plan, which requires all artesian stock and domestic bored to have watertight delivery systems by 2032.

Almost 770 bores have been rehabilitated and 450 drains piped. Around 15,000 kilometres of open drains have been decommissioned over the years.

This has saved more than 226,000 megalitres of water.

Groundwater pressure is increasing in the Great Artesian Basin thanks to this capping and piping work.

The increased water pressure is resulting in the re-emergence of natural springs and wetland ecosystems, providing important habitats for native wildlife and plants.

The announcement follows the Premier enacting critical safeguards to protect the Queensland section of the Lake Eyre Basin in December and new laws locking in a 75 by 35 emissions reduction target.

Environmental protections are foundational for Premier Steven Miles and the State Labor Government, to protect the diverse environment vital to livelihoods and the lifestyle enjoyed by Queenslanders around the state.

The move will also safeguard agricultural activities in the region, which has been called for by farmers and growers through around the state. 

Quotes attributable to the Premier Steven Miles:

“Today is a great day for Queensland, for the environment, for farmers, and for the Great Artesian Basin.

“I think the Great Artesian Basin’s unique environmental, agricultural, economic and cultural significance is worth protecting.

“It’s why I will be legislating to prohibit carbon capture and storage projects in the Great Artesian Basin here in Queensland.

“I’ve listened to Queenslanders and I am making sure our government is doing what matters for the natural phenomenon that is the Great Artesian Basin.

“We will continue to review the safety aspects of greenhouse gas storage in the state to support future generations of Queenslanders and to ensure the Queensland’s great natural environment is preserved.”

Quotes attributable to Environment Minister Leanne Linard:

“Protecting Queensland’s iconic and delicate natural environment is in our government’s DNA.

“I want to thank the independent regulator for its recent rigorous and science-based assessment of a proposed carbon capture and storage project within the Great Artesian Basin.

“The regulator’s decision to reject the project acknowledged the basin’s importance and made clear that these types of projects would not be viable in the basin.

“The Miles Government has now taken a leadership decision to bring forward a legislative ban on these types of projects in the Great Artesian Basin to ensure that there are no future attempts at this type of storage in this essential water resource.

“Our decision will remove any doubt and ensure the Great Artesian Basin’s protection for generations to come.” 

Quotes attributable to Water Minister Glenn Butcher:

“I have travelled extensively throughout regional Queensland and I know just how important the Great Artesian Basin is to these communities, to industry, tourism and the environment.

“The GAB is so vital to thousands of Queenslanders and I don’t want to see anything that may jeopardise it for future generations.

“We’ll continue the good work we’re doing through our bore capping program to make sure landholders get the most out of the basin, and to protect the water source for years to come.”

Quotes attributable to Agriculture Minister Mark Furner:

“The Great Artesian Basin is the lifeblood for many Queensland farmers and I’m proud to be part of a government that’s protecting this precious resource.

“We are acting now to preserve Queensland’s most productive agricultural land for future generations of famers and the communities they support.

“Queensland is renowned for having the cleanest, greenest agricultural produce in the world and the bans we’re enacting will enhance and strengthen this well-earned reputation.

“This will help ensure Queensland continues to be an agricultural powerhouse for generations to come.”


Carbon Capture and Storage involves securing greenhouse gas emissions from industrial processes and injecting them into underground geological formations for storage which prevents its release into the atmosphere.

Carbon Transport and Storage Corporation (CTSCo), a subsidiary of Glencore, proposed injecting CO2 into the Precipice Sandstone within the Great Artesian Basin – the largest underground freshwater resource in Australia which lies beneath parts of Queensland, Northern Territory, South Australia, and New South Wales.

Following a rigorous three-year assessment under the Environmental Protection Act 1994, Queensland’s independent environmental regulator has determined that the project is not suitable to proceed due to potential impacts on groundwater resources in the Great Artesian Basin.

The final assessment report is available online.