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ALP and Libs block inquiry into the coal seam gas industry

Australia’s tired, old political parties have blocked a move by the Greens for a standalone Senate inquiry into the coal seam gas industry, Greens Leader Bob Brown said. In a split with the Liberals, the Nationals abstained.

“The prospect of coal seam gas mines across the country, from the Kimberley to Queensland to Tasmania, encroaching on Sydney and broader New South Wales, as well as in South Australia is truly appalling,” Senator Brown said.

“There is a new urgency to assess the health impacts of the toxic materials used in the fracking process. The last-minute inclusion of coal seam gas in the terms of reference for the Inquiry into the management of the Murray Darling Basin is not enough, although we are pleased that our proposed terms of reference – circulated yesterday – have served as their template.”

The inquiry and report by the Environment and Communications References Committee, proposed by the Australian Greens and blocked by Labor and the Coalition, would have examined the social, environmental, health, economic and legal impacts of coal seam gas, with particular reference to:

a) adverse health effects associated with coal seam gas mines;
b) impact of coal seam gas mines on property values;
c) food security and the viability of farms with coal seam gas mines;
d) contamination of underground water sources and soil;
e) the legal rights of property owners versus gas companies; and
f) any other relevant matters.

“It is inadequate for coal seam gas mines, a threat to farmers in New South Wales and Queensland in particular to be an add-on to any other inquiry.”

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