Senate debates

Monday, 10 September 2012


Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Amendment (Independent Expert Scientific Committee on Coal Seam Gas and Large Coal Mining Development) Bill 2012; In Committee

6:26 pm

Photo of Stephen ConroyStephen Conroy (Victoria, Australian Labor Party, Deputy Leader of the Government in the Senate) Share this | Hansard source

I am advised of the following on the interim committee: members of the interim committee were appointed on the basis of their strong scientific expertise and credentials in understanding the potential impacts of coal seam gas and coalmining on water resources. The government has full confidence in the operations and advice of the interim committee, despite the accusations that they are conflicted. It was the opinion of the Senate committee that members of the IESC should be experts and this may include members who have worked or received funding from mining organisations. It is important to have people who are experts, not people who are learners in this whole area, which when brought together can bring a range of skills to be an effective expert committee. A balance needs to be struck between ensuring you have the industry expertise and managing potential conflicts of interests to ensure the advice is robust, rigorous and independent. That was the experience of the government with the interim committee. I have indicated we are writing to the states on the membership and consulting the states.


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