Taking the heat out of CSG debate
ESTABLISHING a scientific committee to oversee the expansion of the coal seam gas industry would take "some of the heat" out of the debate in south-east Queensland, Member for Blair Shayne Neumann said.
In the House of Representatives this week, Mr Neumann said a committee would help governments make "good decisions" about regulating the CSG and coal industries.
"This is about best practice. It is about making sure we have listened to community concerns," Mr Neumann said in supporting the bill to establish the committee.
"It is about providing, by legislation, the creation of a new committee which will give that advice, making sure that the minister, while being accountable, open and transparent and while listening to local communities, has the best independent expert scientific advice on hand for coal seam gas and large coalmining developments."
Mr Neumann spoke about the history and importance of coalmining to the Ipswich area and the employment opportunities it provided but he also acknowledged the concerns held by some in the Ipswich and West Moreton regions, and said the committee would go some way to alleviating those fears.
"This will take some of the heat out of the issue - not all of it, of course, but some of it - and will make sure that people can rely on expert advice," he said.
"They are concerned about the impact on water resources ... what might happen to biodiversity, conservation, the environment and protected species.
"This legislation goes towards addressing some of the community's concerns in relation to coal seam gas and large coalmining developments."
Mr Neumann said coalmining developments were "not appropriate" in certain areas, using the Brisbane Valley region an example, because of their proximity to water supplies.