Thursday, 14 March 2013
Coal Seam Gas
That the Senate—
(a) notes that:
(i) no coal seam gas projects or coal mines have been assessed under Australia's national environment laws for their impacts on the climate or water resources, and
(ii) there is huge concern about the impacts of coal seam gas and coal mines in the Australian community, particularly within farming communities that depend on scarce water resources; and
(b) calls on the Government to retrospectively apply its proposed water trigger and re-assess all projects approved under the Minister for Sustainability, Environment, Water, Population and Communities (Mr Burke).
I seek leave to make a short statement.
My motion calls on government to retrospectively apply its proposed water trigger to coal seam gas projects and coalmines that Minister Burke has already approved. This is important because the big three New South Wales approvals just made one month ago—Gloucester coal seam gas and Maules Creek and Boggabri coalmines—have not started yet, so it is not too late for their approvals to be revoked and for the water impacts of these massive projects to be properly assessed. For the three big Queensland coal seam gas projects approved by the minister more than two years ago, it is obviously too late to revoke those approvals because work has already started, but what is needed is for the water impacts of those projects to be assessed and publicly reported. The government and decision makers can then use that information about water impacts when they make future decisions about further coal seam gas development or about water management, water allocation and, of course, the management of the Murray-Darling. So I urge senators to support the motion.