Senate debates

Monday, 17 June 2013

Bills

Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Amendment Bill 2013; In Committee

7:52 pm

Photo of Jan McLucasJan McLucas (Queensland, Australian Labor Party, Minister for Human Services) Share this | Hansard source

The government does not support the proposed amendments. The proposed amendments would limit the bill to activity which is a coal seam gas or large coalmining development rather than activity which involves such developments. It is intentionally drafted in that way. The amendments as proposed by the opposition would, potentially, create confusion around which activities are or are not covered by the bill.

Coal seam gas and large coalmining developments typically are large and complex, involving infrastructure such as access tracks, pipelines, dams, drilling and excavation. A thorough environmental assessment would consider the impacts of these large projects as a whole. So it is intentionally drafted in this way. The proposed amendment from the opposition, I contend, is not minor or technical. It would actually add confusion of its own, because what we are proposing is that an assessment of the large projects that we are talking about would be done as a whole rather than an isolated element of a large coal development or a coal seam gas project. So, intentionally, the government has drafted these amendments to the act so that the totality of the project will be considered for its potential environmental impact.

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