Chapter 4 Conclusion
The Bill under inquiry seeks to increase the oversight of mining
operations through making the Australian Government the default consent
authority, depending on an operation’s potential impact on water resources.
In addition, coal seam gas exploration and extraction have caused
considerable concern in the community, particularly in New South Wales and
Queensland. The Committee is aware of strong opinions both for and against the
coal seam gas industry in the Australian Community.
Numerous policy developments have occurred since the Bill was
introduced. These include:
n an agreement to
develop a national harmonised regulatory framework for the CSG industry; and
n the Government
undertaking to create and support an independent scientific committee to
provide science on which to base approvals.
The Committee supports both these major policy developments, and looks
forward to seeing these agreements being enacted. However, the Committee also
notes that there is limited detail about how the national framework would be
implemented and adhered to. In particular, it is currently unclear how
stringent the Framework would be, and the extent to which jurisdictions would
be bound to remedy the gaps in existing arrangements.
If both of the above noted policy developments were to be implemented as
planned over the course of the coming year, the policy context in which the
Bill was drafted will be profoundly changed. In the Committee’s view the Bill
would therefore be unnecessary.
However, the Committee also notes that considerable outstanding work is
still to be done in 2012 to complete this program. Therefore, the Committee
will monitor the matters discussed in this report.
For the reasons outlined above, the Committee is of the view that the Bill
should not be passed at this time.
||The Committee recommends that the Bill not be passed at this
Dick Adams MP