News

Nats candidate welcomes CSG change

UPDATE 5.30pm: PAGE Nationals candidate Kevin Hogan has welcomed the proposed rule changes for coal seam gas, describing them as a "step in the right direction".

Mr Hogan, who has previously said he opposed coal seam gas and would not want a drill site on or near his own farm, stopped short of saying he would push for the Federal coalition to back them.

"We obviously have to see the detail of it, so I can't say anything about that until I see the policy, but it's just a reaction that this seems to be moving in the direction of what our Federal (coalition) policy is, in that it doesn't impinge on ground water or surface water systems," he said.

***

UPDATE 2.30pm: NSW Farmers have welcomed new Federal rules that Page MP Janelle Saffin would effectively block coal seam gas production on the Northern Rivers.

In a statement, NSW Farmers president Fiona Simson said her organisation was not opposed to coal seam gas but had "consistently" said it wanted "strong regulatory frameworks are required to place sensible limits on mining and coal seam gas activities".

""Farmers right across NSW have been calling on the NSW Government to deliver a more rigorous assessment process for mining and coal seam gas proposals," she said.

"It is not surprising the Federal Environment Minister has seen a need to step in. Improvements are still needed at a state level to give farmers and rural communities confidence that the risks to their land and water from CSG and large coal mining developments will be managed. "

Read Ms Simson's full statement here.

The Lock the Gate Alliance is launching its Call to Country,in front of Janelle Saffin Office in Lismore, asking for national law reform on coal and gas mining to Federal parliamentarians across Australia.
The Lock the Gate Alliance is launching its Call to Country,in front of Janelle Saffin Office in Lismore, asking for national law reform on coal and gas mining to Federal parliamentarians across Australia. Mireille Merlet-Shaw

1.30pm: NEW rules requiring coal and coal seam gas drill sites to protect ground water under Federal environment laws, will effectively put an end to the aspirations of CSG companies on the Northern Rivers, Page MP Janelle Saffin has said.

Under new rules just announced today by Federal Environment Minister Tony Burke, coal seam gas companies will be forced to prove their drill sites do not endanger the water table before being allowed to drill.

Federal Member for Page Janelle Saffin.
Federal Member for Page Janelle Saffin. Cathy Adams

Federal Environment Minister Tony Burke announced the plans to change the Environmental Protection and Biodiversity Act at a press conference in Canberra, telling reporters it would allow the Commonwealth to extend its environmental powers to water where it releates to coal and coal seam gas.

Ms Saffin, who has been lobbying for the changes in Canberra, said the new rules were likely to go through Federal Parliament within the next week or two and would give the Government the power to individually examine every coal seam gas proposal on the Northern Rivers and refuse any application that endangered ground water.

The environmental review of coal seam gas sites would be carried out by the Independent Expert Scientific Committee currently charged with the job of doing bioregional assessments.

However, Ms Saffin said the introduction of the new rules would not necessarily mean an end to the test drilling currently being done on the Northern Rivers, such as that done recently by Metgasco at Doubtful Creek and Glenugie.

Under the changes, companies holding exploration licences would still be allowed to search for coal seam gas. However, any company wanting to upgrade to a full-blown drilling licence would then have to demonstrate the licence did not endanger ground water in the area of the site.

"With this amendment the Australian Labor Government is responding to community concern to ensure the long term health and viability of Australia's water resources," she said.

"This amendment means we have to take water into account for these kinds of projects, so I don't see how they will be able to go ahead.

"The states however, still have the power immediately to give us an exclusion zone for the Northern Rivers."

Read Janelle Saffin's statement on the new rules here.

Topics:  coal seam gas, csg, environment, federal politics, janelle saffin




Stay Connected

Update your news preferences and get the latest news delivered to your inbox.

'All I heard when my baby cried was ‘you’re a terrible mum'

APN Hey Mummy Feature for online - stock images of Katie Dykes. Photo Marc Stapelberg / The Northern Star

KATIE'S battle with PND is not unlike many mothers.

'I just thought all mums got no sleep'

MELTOPIA battled PND with all four of her children.

4 survival tips for mummas heading back to work

The few reminders every working mum needs to read.

Health and nutrition with kids - how do you balance it?

HOW important is health and nutrition in your household?

Smack or no smack - where do you stand?

THE debate is reignited - is smacking acceptable?

Technology and kids: Do you ever cut their wi-fi?

Check out our new video series featuring mums having a chat

Support coming for Hogan, but Saffin still Page favourite

Bookies have ALP challenger Janelle Saffin still in front of sitting Nationals member Kevin Hogan in the seat of Page.

Bookies have the odds shortening for incumbent Kevin Hogan in Page.

6 Things To Do this weekend

Get into the action at the Coutts Crossing annual junior campdraft and rodeo.

There's not just an election

ELECTION 2016: Where you can vote

vote generic

Find where you can vote in the Clarence Valley

Latest deals and offers

PROPERTY BOOM: Coast prices set to skyrocket

Like other areas in south-east Queensland, the Sunshine Coast is at the start of the upturn on the property clock.

Values predicted to rise 25-33%

DIY: How to build a backyard fire pit

DIY stars and Weekend magazine columnists Ayden and Jess Hogan.

Would you build this for your backyard?