Media release – Senator Barnaby Joyce, 15 March 2012:
Greens party CSG inquiry about politics not action
The Greens party’s attempt to instigate another inquiry into coal seam gas is politically motivated and counterproductive. Another inquiry will simply delay the changes that are needed to deliver better outcomes for the environment and for landholders.
The Nationals were responsible for the instigation of the Senate inquiry into coal seam gas which reported in November last year. That report made comprehensive recommendations on establishing a national regulatory framework including cumulative and regional modelling, the regulation of chemicals, water licences, trust funds for make good expenses, prime agricultural land and access arrangements.
The Nationals also called for at least 1 per cent of the gross revenue from coal seam gas go towards providing a return to landowners.
The government has not responded to that inquiry. At this point in time having a further inquiry, to look into what has already been covered, is not of any assistance.
The inquiry seems to be more of a political advertising campaign for the Greens party than a genuine attempt to be part of the resolution.
The Nationals have been very clear about what needs to be resolved. Prime agricultural land must be protected, aquifers cannot be destroyed, the quiet enjoyment of residential areas must be respected and a fair return must go back to the landholders on whose land the drilling takes place.
What will a further inquiry achieve beyond delaying action on these issues? In essence, it would dilute the potency of the recommendations made last year because clearly the Greens party does not think that this inquiry was good enough and we need another one.
The Nationals don’t resile from future inquiries if they are needed but the Greens seem to want another one just because they were not responsible for the first Senate inquiry into this issue.