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We can't allow big miners to bully away water protection

The influence of mining magnates, made clear in a public hearing at Parliament House today, cannot be allowed to sabotage a bill for federal protection for water resources from coal seam gas mining and large coal mines, say the Australian Greens.

“Mining bodies admitted during hearings today that they’ve been lobbying behind closed doors to water down this protection,” Senator Larissa Waters, Australian Greens mining spokesperson and a member of the Senate committee examining the bill, said.

“In an age of food insecurity, state governments are letting the coal seam gas industry run rampant, despite clear warnings from the National Water Commission and CSIRO that we don’t know how destructive this high-risk industry will be for our precious water resources in the long term.

“We can’t let the mining magnates get away without federal scrutiny of their impacts on our water.

“Already, they’ve succeeded in using their influence to delay this protection and get approval for major coal seam gas projects in the meantime.

“It’s all too convenient for the mining industry that just weeks before the government announced it would introduce this protection to Parliament, it approved four major coal seam gas and coal mining projects –  Gloucester, Maules Creek, Boggabri and Tarrawonga.
“In the Senate, I’ll be moving to amend the bill so that it applies retrospectively to those four projects approved just before the government announced this new protection and so that it allows landholders the right to say no to coal seam gas mining.

“If the government truly wants to protect water rather than just electioneer, they will back my amendments to strengthen this bill. Likewise the Coalition will reveal where their loyalties lie when they vote on whether landholders should have the right to say no to coal and coal seam gas,” Senator Waters said.

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