The Australian Greens are proud to have passed the water trigger through the Senate today, despite the old parties refusing to support Greens amendments to strengthen the bill for farmers and the environment.
“The water trigger is an achievement of this minority government only made possible by the Greens working with Tony Windsor to secure federal assessment of the water impacts of coal seam gas and large coal mines, which the community has long been calling for,” Senator Larissa Waters, Australian Greens environment spokesperson, said.
“Make no mistake, the water trigger would not exist today were it not for the minority Parliament - the Government initially laughed at the Greens bill for a water trigger 18 months ago.
“Sadly, the old parties voted down Greens amendments to the water trigger to give landholders the right to say no to coal seam gas, to Abbott-proof national environmental protection and to protect national parks federally.
“Through our amendments to the water trigger, the Greens gave Labor one last chance to Abbott-proof our environmental laws by voting to keep federal veto powers over damaging developments,” Senator Waters said.
“Tony Abbott says repeatedly that he wants to get rid of national environment protection and hand it over to his state cronies, yet Labor voted to keep those parts of law which allow such a delegation.
“With that vote, Labor is complicit in Tony Abbott’s plan to give rogue state governments total control of our nationally iconic places and species, destroying the legacy created by Bob Hawke when he stepped in to save the Franklin River from being dammed.
“Labor also refused to back my amendments to protect national parks federally, despite pressing threats from state premiers to allow logging, grazing and shooting in national parks across the country.
“Labor committed to protect national parks almost two years ago but have not delivered – they are all talk and no action when it comes to actually standing up for the environment.
“The old parties also refused my amendment to give landholders the right to say no to coal seam gas mining on their land. It’s a disgrace that it’s still illegal for farmers to protect their own land and water supplies from coal seam gas mining.
“The old parties have confirmed today that Greens are the only party standing up for farmers against the big mining companies and the only party that Australians can trust to protect the environment,” Senator Waters said.