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Supporting local residents rights to say no to unconventional gas exploration

I move that the Senate:

1.      notes the importance of protecting valuable agricultural, residential and conservation land from unconventional gas activities;

2.      supports the right of landholders and local residents to say "no" to unconventional gas exploration and mining in their communities;

3.      recognises the concerns expressed by communities in the South East of South Australia over potential groundwater contamination from unconventional gas activities; and

4.      congratulates the South East Local Government Association in South Australia for standing up for their local communities and voting for a moratorium on unconventional gas.

This motion did not recieve the support of the Senate, leading to the following remarks from Senator Wright:

Senator WRIGHT:  I am very disappointed that the government and particularly the National Party do not see fit to support this motion. Despite what my colleague has just said about the merits of local communities having their land and their food production protected, in fact it goes against that to not support this motion. Indeed, this was actually a landmark unanimous decision by seven councils that make up the South East Local Government Association of South Australia in hearing the concerns of their residents, farmers, landholders, winegrowers, croppers and graziers, who were saying that they are concerned about the risk of unconventional gas mining in their area to the water supplies around Mount Gambier and the south-east region. For that reason, they have sought a moratorium to receive further independent analysis about the risks that are involved. It would seem to be highly uncontroversial and, in fact, we congratulate the council on seeing fit to speak out to protect the interests of their residents and the landholders in the area.

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