Details emerge on expedited Adani groundwater agreement

New details published by the ABC has detailed how the Federal Government pressured the CSIRO to sign off on Adani’s groundwater plans in a matter of hours.

Details obtained by the ABC show leaked internal CSIRO communication that shows how the science agency was pressured to formally accept the Federal Government’s approval of Adani’s water plans in a single afternoon.

Despite the Government saying Australia's top science agencies "confirmed" Adani's water plans had "met strict scientific requirements", the emails show CSIRO was determined not to give a "categoric" response.

The correspondence obtained by the ABC through freedom of information laws exposes further discrepancies between what the Government said about the assessment of Adani's environmental plans, and what actually occurred.

The emails follow hand-written notes from Geoscience Australia, obtained by the ABC in April, which show Adani refused to accept several of its recommendations, counter to what the Government said at the time.

Two days before the federal election was called, Environment Minister Melissa Price signed off on Adani's two groundwater management plans,meaning Adani had passed all the tests required by the Federal Government before it could start constructing its proposed Carmichael coal mine.

When announcing the decision, Ms Price said she was simply following the advice of scientists.

"I have accepted the scientific advice," she said, declaring that CSIRO and Geoscience Australia had provided "assurances that these steps address their recommendations".

The Australian Conservation Foundation’s Stop Adani Campaigner, Christian Slattery, described the move as ‘another chapter in this sordid affair’.

“These documents show political pressure was put on CSIRO to quickly back Adani’s groundwater plans and provide cover for the rushed approval by the Environment Minister just days before the election,” Mr Slattery said.

“Australians are right to be concerned about the process behind the last-minute Adani groundwater sign off and in turn all other federal environmental approvals issued to the company to dig its massive new coal mine.”

“Whatever its stripes, the next Australian Government must review the approval of Adani’s groundwater plan – and others issued to the company – immediately after the election,” Mr Slattery concluded.

Subscribe to The Environment Report