|Coal seam gas well - Courtesy ABC site|
Ms Cavanaugh said: “While it is great to see the Nationals responding to community concerns about coal seam gas by finalising their set of core principles, there is still a long way to go until they have a comprehensive policy approach.
“All they have actually announced is that they plan to launch a discussion paper on specific policy options at some time in the future. This discussion paper will reveal how they will attempt to achieve their core principles while still permitting the industry to develop.
“Meanwhile, there is no guarantee that they will try and get the O’Farrell Liberal Government policy to tighten NSW regulation of the industry.
“Without such a guarantee, it seems to be just a desperate grab for relevance by the Nationals in the lead-up to the Clarence by-election, which I have already identified as a referendum on mining.”
Ms Cavanaugh’s criticisms come after Australian Greens mining spokesperson Senator Larissa Waters’ comments on the weekend that the bush deserves better than a discussion paper on coal seam gas and that the Nationals should vote for her two coal seam gas bills.
The Greens’ bills in the federal Senate would give farmers the right to lock the gate against coal seam gas companies and allow the federal Environment Minister to consider the impacts of coal seam gas mining on water.
In yesterday’s press release, the leader of the Nationals, Warren Truss, admits that, poorly managed, coal seam gas mining could become an environmental and social disaster.
Contact: Janet Cavanaugh – 0429 479 968