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
Thank you. I will double-check that now myself, but my understanding is that the minutes refer to a disclosure and then the details of such disclosure are in the appendix, which is then not online. I think that we have clearly canvassed the point that needs to be rectified here.
The other aspect of the amendments that I will move shortly is that the Greens are interested to see the various advices provided to the minister be provided to the public—in fact, at the same time as their provision to the minister. This is of course important for transparency and, given that there are opportunities for the public to make comment on referrals through the normal processes in the EPBC Act, it is important that the public has before it the same information that the minister has and on which the minister is basing his decision. This is so that the public can make appropriate comment and also scrutinise the decision-making processes of the minister and ensure that where there is such advice provided it is being taken proper account of.
There are various different lists of advices which need to be provided. There is advice in relation to particular coal seam gas developments or large coalmining developments, there are requests for advice of the same nature from state ministers, there are requests about the scope of bioregional assessments in the priority areas in which those bioregional assessments should be undertaken, there are advices about the priorities for research projects and, of course, there is specific mention of scientific advice to the minister in relation to a matter protected by part 3. There are several mentions there that link in with the EPBC referral process. My question is whether or not there is any intention to disclose that advice publicly and, if so, in what sort of time frame.