Tuesday, 24 November 2015
Coal Seam Gas
That the Senate—
(i) the Victorian National Party’s announcement in early 2015 that they ‘support landowners having the right to say no to coal seam gas extraction activity on their land’,
(ii) comments by the Leader of the Nationals and Minister for Infrastructure and Regional Development, Mr Truss MP, that farmers should have the right to say yes or no to coal seam gas exploration and extraction on their property,
(iii) comments by:
(a) the Deputy Leader of the Nationals and Minister for Agriculture and Water Resources, Mr Joyce MP, and
(b) the Deputy Leader of the Nationals in the Senate and Minister for Rural Health, Senator Nash,
supporting a right for farmers to say no to coal seam gas activity on their land,
(iv) reports that:
(a) the Assistant Minister to the Deputy Prime Minister, Mr McCormack MP, and
(b) Mr Broad MP, and Senators McKenzie, Williams and Canavan,
support the right of farmers to say no to coal seam gas activity on their land; and
(b) agrees that landowners should have the right to say no to coal seam gas activity on their land.
Thank you, Mr President. We welcome the fact that the Greens are taking such a keen interest in the public statements of the Nationals. The Nationals support giving landowners greater rights. As the motion notes, our state based parties are pushing for, or have implemented when in power, such policies. That is where these issues ultimately have to be resolved—at the state level. Any changes must of course interact with state mining lease conditions, royalties and make-good regulations. We do not support this motion. The Senate has established an inquiry, and we should wait for it to report.
We also welcome the Greens' new-found interest in supporting landowner and farmer rights. But why they did the Greens refuse to preference the Victorian National Party in recent state by-elections even though the Nats had adopted a 'right to say no' policy? Is it because the Greens only support farmers' rights when it suits their inner-urban agenda but, unlike us, do not support farmers when they want to build dams, cut down trees, shoot pests or grow crops?