The first public hearing of the Senate Inquiry into the Greens’ bill to give landholders the right to say ‘no’ to gas and coal mining on their land and to ban fracking was held in Brisbane today.
Queensland Senator Larissa Waters, the Australian Greens Acting Leader and mining spokesperson, who introduced the bill to the Parliament, said:
“We’ve heard from Queensland landholders today who desperately want to protect their land, water and health but have been left with no legal rights to say ‘no’ to the big mining companies.
“Landholders gave evidence today that their families and neighbours are experiencing health impacts and that CSG companies have threatened to take them to court, even when they have made it clear that they have ‘locked the gate’.
“Our bill would use the corporations power under the Constitution to give landholders, including farmers, local councils and traditional owners, the legal right to say no to coal and gas exploration and mining.
“Federally, the major parties try to fob off this issue as a state one, but the states have not acted to protect land, water and communities so it is time the Commonwealth stepped in to do so.
“Our bill would also ban fracking – a dangerous practice that involves chemicals being blasted into coal seams, which risks our geological stability and water quality.
“Queensland’s agriculture and climate are too important to risk for the private profits of big mining companies that mostly flow offshore, especially when we have safe, job-rich renewable alternatives at hand,” Senator Waters said.
The Inquiry’s next hearing will be held in Canberra tomorrow before reporting on 31 August. For more information: http://www.aph.gov.au/Parliamentary_Business/Committees/Senate/Environment_and_Communications/Gas_and_Coal