The Nationals launch coal seam gas blueprint
The Nationals have outlined a blueprint for coal seam gas development in Australia.
Federal Member for Parkes Mark Coulton played an instrumental role in the development of the blueprint as the Parkes Electorate is facing significant CSG exploration.
“Coal seam gas exploration is a significant challenge in my electorate,” Mr Coulton said. “I recognise that coal seam gas poses both opportunities and risks. It has a huge potential to revitalise parts of regional Australia. However, if managed poorly, coal seam gas could become an environmental and social disaster.”
“The state government has primary responsibility of this issue. However, I believe the stakes are so high that the federal government must provide national leadership. In saying that, the federal government needs to go about this the right way.”
“I have concerns with the Member for New England Tony Windsor’s proposal to make changes to the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act. Mr Windsor’s proposal is too broad in scope and will likely result in further red tape and bureaucracy on landowners, which is undesirable.”
The Nationals adopted a coal seam gas policy at their Federal Council Meeting in August, and on Friday the federal parliamentary party finalised a set of principles to implement that policy.
“There needs to be a balance of the needs of mining companies, landowners and communities.”
“We need a comprehensive approach, one that protects not only the environment but the economic imperatives of regional Australia and the legitimate rights of landowners.”
The Nationals’ approach to the development of Australia’s coal seam gas resources is based on five core principles and will shortly release a discussion paper on specific policy options to achieve these core principles.
§ No coal seam gas development should proceed where it poses a significant impact to the quality of groundwater or surface water systems. It must be absolutely clear that no coal seam gas development should occur unless it is proven safe for the environment.
§ Prime agricultural land is an increasingly important natural asset. It must be protected from activities that destroy its capacity to deliver food security – not only for our nation, but for a hungrier world, for generations to come.
§ Coal seam gas development must not occur close to existing residential areas. People who have bought a home, with a reasonable expectation of being away from mining operations, must not be thrown into turmoil coal seam gas operations springing up on their doorstep.
§ Landowners are entitled to appropriate pecuniary returns sourced by reason of access to their land. Remuneration for landowners should not be limited to compensation.
§ The regions that deliver much of the wealth from coal seam gas developments deserve to see a fair share of generated revenues reinvested in their communities. This is an opportunity to grow our nation and encourage a lasting legacy from coal seam gas developments.