Hopefully the foreshadowed amendments to the C’wealth Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 will give the level of water protection Northern Rivers communities hope for.
Saffin hails new water protection as a win for the community
The Federal Labor Government today moved to tighten controls over Coal Seam Gas activities on the North Coast.
Page MP Janelle Saffin today announced that the Federal Labor Government will amend the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act to provide greater environmental protection for water resources impacted by coal seam gas mining.
"This effectively means that Coal Seam Gas Mining could be stopped on the North Coast if it has the potential to adversely impact our precious water resources.
Currently there is no direct protection for water resources under our national environment law.
“I have said for years that we have to protect our water from the known risks of CSG mining.
“What I’ve said all along is that I wanted the Environment Minister, Tony Burke, to find a way that we could draw water in the ambit of the EP and BC Act. And today he announced that he’s been able to do it.
“I’ve been working with the Minister and his advisors for some period of time on this.
“Last year we got the Independent Expert Scientific Committee that is undertaking bioregional assessments.
“I’ve told the minister that the community wanted us to find a way to have water included in the assessments for Coal Seam Gas. And I thank the Minister for doing that.
"Without water there is no life and it's important we take steps to ensure our water systems are protected.
“I have been working with Justine Elliott locally and in Canberra, and at the Federal Government level we have done what we can.”
“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.
“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.”
13 March, 2013
Media contact: Lee Duncan 0448 158 150