from contributing Editor Robert J Lee

It is not often Cairnsnews would agree with anything the Greens support, but they have been outstanding in their opposition to the destructive Coal Seam Gas mining. The Senate committee members like most other politicians have been bought by the mining industry.

Senator Ruston
Senator Ruston – chairwoman of the committee

Senator Anne Ruston Liberal Party  is a small business owner, primary producer, irrigator and a passionate advocate for rural and regional communities just chaired the committee that dismissed farmers rights to refuse coal seam gas fracking on their land by voting against the bill in favour of mining companies.

Call Ms Ruston at her Renmark office SA

(08) 8586 6600 and let her know your thoughts.

A SENATE committee has rejected a bill by the Greens to give landholders the right to say no to coal seam gas operations on their land.

Committee members   

Senator the Hon Anne Ruston, Chairwoman -LP, South Australia

Senator Anne Urquhart, Deputy Chairwoman ALP, Tasmania

Senator the Hon James McGrath LP, Queensland

Senator the Hon Lisa Singh ALP, Tasmania

Senator the Hon Arthur Sinodinos AO LP, NSW AG, Queensland

The bill, introduced by Queensland Senator Larissa Waters, aimed to create national laws to govern the use of CSG and coal resources, despite such issues long being a state government responsibility.

It would have also banned the use of hydraulic fracturing techniques in some highly valuable agricultural land, such as the Darling Downs and Liverpool Plains.

After more than 370 submissions, the rejected the bill yesterday.

The committee wrote that landholders and the interests of future generations needed to be protected, but that Labor and Coalition senators fundamentally disagreed with the bill’s approach.

In its report, it wrote the Greens bill was “an excessive and unworkable response to concerns that landholders may have about gas and coal activities”.

The committee was also concerned the bill could create what was “essentially akin to a private ownership scheme for certain resources” by giving landholders the final say on projects, rather than state governments.

While the gas industry backed the committee’s decision to reject the bill, Sen Waters hit back in her own dissenting report.

She wrote the committee was endorsing “the Liberal-National government’s head-long rush to expand the unconventional gas industry even further”.

“It is clear which side the Liberal-National government has chosen – the gas companies,” she wrote.

The rejection of the bill came on the same day as a new report found the CSG industry in Queensland was the major driver of rising electricity demand across the nation in the year to September.

The latest Carbon Emissions Index report showed demand was flat in most states, but rose nationally because of “the use of electricity in the production and pipeline transport of coal seam gas to the LNG plants at Gladstone”.

It found demand in all other states was flat, falling, or rose only slightly.