The chair of a senate committee investigating the impacts of Coal Seam Gas mining on the Murray Darling Basin wants the Federal Government to take control of the rapidly growing industry.
The responsibility for regulating CSG mining activities currently lies with the States, but there are concerns that the lure of short-term royalty and job windfalls are blinding state Governments to longer term impacts surrounding environment and food security.
Liberal Senator Bill Heffernan weighed into the debate on Friday, telling the media that state regulations were inadequate and calling for the Commonwealth Government to develop “standardised” rules across all states.
He said he was concerned about the CSG industry’s potential to impact the vast network of underground freshwater aquifers that make up the Great Artesian Basin, and the lack of scientific understanding that surrounds potential impacts.
The Senate Standing Rural and Regional Affairs and Transport Committee’s inquiry into CSG impacts on the Murray Darling Basin will conduct public hearings in Queensland and NSW in July.
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