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
There still seems to be quite some vagary in your answer. I am going to ask one more time. Vagary has been the issue du jour for you here tonight, but on this one I will ask again. Are there people—you must understand this—currently on the payroll of the mining industry and supported by the mining industry who at the same time will be part of this committee? If so, what is your mechanism for creating some sort of Chinese wall in the psyche of these people so that they can divine between one interest supported by the mining industry and in the same heartbeat also be working on behalf of landholders as they try to protect themselves from what could possibly be detrimental effects to their lifestyle and their income earning potential from the coal seam gas industry? It is quite obvious that there is an immense conflict of interest. I have even given you the area, at the University of Queensland. Senator Waters has even giving you the name, Professor Moran. The reason we ask this is that even last week in trying to pursue this argument on your behalf, probably doing your work, we have gone to the University of Southern Queensland, where there is no interconnection with the mining industry, and investigated ways that they may be able to provide something that is proper and independent, unambiguous and not even perceived to be a conflict of interest, because we know that conflict of interest is not just whether there is or there is not, it is whether there could be perceived to be a conflict of interest. Quite obviously when a body is paid by both the mining industry and the federal government then you have two completely conflicting views and two completely conflicting objectives, and you cannot possibly make us say tonight, 'Well, that is not a problem.'