Stronger CSG regulations in the pipeline
The Federal Government has promised stronger national regulatory frameworks to assess the impacts of coal seam gas (CSG) on the environment in a bid to win key independent’s vote on the minerals resource rent tax (MRRT).
Independents Rob Oakeshott and Tony Windsor announced they will support the legislation on the grounds that the Federal Government conduct thorough impact studies of CSG on groundwater, farmlands, water catchments and communities.
“The government has agreed to a national partnership with the states to urgently address the community’s concerns about the impact of coal-seam gas and large-scale coal mining on productive lands,” Mr Oakeshott said.
“The national regulatory framework for assessments will provide the rigorous research, advice and assessments that communities throughout Australia have been calling for.”
The Federal Government has pledged $150 million over four years to establish an Independent Expert Scientific Committee to provide advice and on CSG related impacts.
The formation of the committee forms part of a suite of responses by the Federal Government, including:
- Establish a new National Partnership Agreement with the states through COAG, agreeing that the Commonwealth and states have to take into account the advice of the Committee in their assessment and approval decisions.
- Provide $50 million in incentive payments to the states to deliver this outcome.
- Mandate that the Independent Expert Scientific Committee publicly disclose its advice to ensure local communities have all the best information available to them.