Cracked ground on a property near Cecil Plains on the Western Downs.

In Dr Mark Bahnisch’s interview for FAQ Research with Queensland Greens Senator Larissa Waters, the Senator referred to bills she had introduced into federal parliament, one designed to allow the Federal Government to regulate CSG and mining practices which impact on water.

[See the interview here and today’s Crikey story.]

The Senate Committee on Rural and Regional Affairs and Transport has now recommended against the Bill.

In a report on the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Amendment (Protecting Australia’s Water Resources) Bill 2011, Government and Opposition Senators argued the bill duplicated existing state and Commonwealth policies and programs, and was unnecessary.

The Bill was opposed by the National Farmers Federation and the The Association of Mining and Exploration Companies.

The Bill would have enabled Federal Ministers, if they so determined, to limit, restrict or prohibit CSG activity where there is a threat to water quality and availability.

In a written statement, Senator Waters said:

“The bill would increase the Environment Minister’s capacity to protect our water and our environment from CSG – what does it say about the Australian Government that they don’t want to give themselves the power to act on coal seam gas?”

“In the driest inhabited continent on earth, it’s ridiculous that water isn’t recognised as a national asset and protected at the national level.

The committee report can be read here.

Kim Jameson
FAQ Research

Photo credit: Pandora Karavan, FAQ Research, taken using a mobile phone. See Pandora’s photo essay of the FAQ Research field trip here.

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