LYNE MP Rob Oakeshott is pleased water will be recognised in law as a trigger for federal government assessment of coal seam gas and large coal mine developments.
The proposed change to the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Amendment Bill includes water resources as a new matter of national environment significance.
“It’s a bitter-sweet moment for my own community of Gloucester, where AGL’s 110-gas well project was approved by the federal minister just a month ago because, under the existing Act, his consideration was limited to threatened species,” Mr Oakeshott said.
“If there is good news for Gloucester it’s that stages two to five of the project, another 220 wells, will have to be referred to the federal environment minister for consideration.
“The federal minister will also need to consider the advice of the Independent Expert Scientific Committee.
“I am pleased we are now seeing formal progress on a legislative trigger for water resources in the EPBC Act that will in the future have greater regard for the potential impact of CSG and coal mine developments on water.
“It’s a significant legislative step, but also a significant win for farmers and for rural and regional Australians who have been fighting to have their voice heard above that of vested interests.
“On Sunday night I attended a public meeting in Gloucester that was called at short notice and was attended by more than 200 locals. CSG is already having an impact on communities such as Gloucester and none of it is positive.
“I’m confident this latest amendment to the Act will deliver the safeguards that farmers and communities such as mine have been looking for,” Mr Oakeshott said.