March 13, 2013
The Victorian Farmers Federation has questioned the wisdom of the Federal Government’s decision to use national environmental laws to take control of coal seam gas developments that pose a risk to water resources. Today Environment Minister Tony Burke announced he would introduce amendments to the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 that gave the Federal Government the power to block CSG and coal mining that could have a significant impact on ground and surface water systems. “Why is the Federal Government pursuing such a strategy when the state governments are already working with the Commonwealth on developing a National Harmonised Regulatory Framework to ensure we have a consistent approach to these developments?” VFF Land Management chairman Gerald Leach said. “Using the EPBC Act to control CSG developments puts ultimate control in the minister’s hands. “While farmers are extremely concerned at the risks to their water resources posed by coal seam gas drilling, we believe in solutions that involve the whole community not just one minister. That’s why we’re supporting the harmonised framework.