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
Almost. I think the distinction that Senator Xenophon was making was between disclosures of conflicts of committee members once they have been appointed to the committee versus the selection of committee members deemed appropriate to be on the committee. My earlier line of questioning established from you that the government still had not set the criteria for appointing the final committee members and I urged you to consider that need for both the actuality and the appearance of a lack of conflict of interest: the need for genuine independence in that committee, which is a view that is shared, obviously, and a concern that several community members and groups have shared with me as well as several senators this evening.
Minister, I would like to ask you whether or not you are aware of the referendum on coal seam gas at the weekend in the Northern Rivers region held in conjunction with the New South Wales local elections? At last count, with more than 15,000 votes counted, that had found that 88 per cent of people were not in favour of coal seam gas.