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Should the Australian Government regulate approvals for coal seam gas (CSG) facilities?

- Tuesday, May 07, 2013

The current political debate on coal seam gas (CSG) and whether the Australian Government should have a regulatory role over approvals has attracted a substantial amount of media attention over the last couple of months, and is an issue that the AFI has been following closely. The Federal Government has proposed an amendment to exert greater control over CSG mining projects which are currently largely in the hands of the state governments. Under the proposed new rules if a CSG project puts water resources at risk it may be referred to the Federal Government for review under the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation (EPBC) Act. The level of threat to water that will trigger the operation of the Act is yet to be announced (more information here).

This quarter's Farm Institute Insights newsletter, hears from two politicians at opposite ends of the spectrum on what the regulatory responsibility of the Federal Government CSG approval process should be.

Minister John Cobb, Shadow Minister for Agriculture and Food Security from the National Party believes that if managed properly, CSG has the potential to revitalise parts of regional Australia. He also believes that more work needs to be done around this issue, and that the Labor Government is just adding a layer of red tape with its current ‘water trigger proposal’.  

Senator Christine Milne, leader of the Greens party, argues that CSG is posing serious risks to Australia’s biodiversity, as well as future agricultural production and contributes to the greenhouse gas emissions. The Senator and her party believe that a moratorium should be placed on CSG extraction.

Should the Federal Government regulate CSG approvals – and if so, how should the regulatory responsibility balance the economic potential of CSG and the risks posed to agricultural farm land? What is your opinion?

Mich commented on 23-Jun-2013 10:32 AM
Coal Seam Gas and all forms of unconventional gas should be banned. Water supply damage and bioaccumulation of gas industry by-products will create issues for the farming and general Australian communities. Too much, too fast.

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