Coalition will support expansion of CSG mining

THE Coalition has always been clear. We have never wavered. We won't waver.

This was how the Opposition - through its raspy-voiced resource spokesman Ian Macfarlane -- spoke of its support for the coal seam gas industry,

It would support the sector's expansion and its success.

If elected in September, a government led by Opposition Leader Tony Abbott would introduce a "one stop shop" for environmental permits, with the approvals process largely delegated to states.

Under this plan, the Commonwealth would watch from above, remaining hands-off where it could.

The Opposition's ultimate goal would be first to have major resource project approvals done within two years, but eventually down to just 12 months.

Following a speech by in-government counterpart Gary Gray, Mr Macfarlane said while Mr Gray and his predecessor Martin Ferguson were both strong advocates for their portfolios, the government itself treated the resources industry as "an ATM for wasteful spending".

He said Federal legislation from Environment Minister Tony Burke to create a "water trigger" for major water-intensive projects drove uncertainty in the industry.

Changes to the Environmental Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act are currently being debated in Parliament.

If passed, this legislation will have direct effects on the coal seam gas industry through increased regulation.

Mr Macfarlane said Opposition would support the emerging CSG industry both in Queensland and New South

Wales as long as farmers gave permission for their land to be used and that underground water quality was not harmed.

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