States move to abide
The COAG Reform Council has released its final assessment report under the Coal Seam Gas (CSG) and Large Coal Mining Development National Partnership Agreement.
by CSG agreement
The report found that three out of the four States included in the agreement reviewed or amended legislation for CSG projects, completing the 2013 milestone.
The Commonwealth established the Independent Expert Scientific Committee (IESC) last year to offer advice on future CSG and large coal mining projects.
The report found that Victoria, Queensland and South Australia had legislated to ensure that decisions on CSG or large coal mining proposals would be informed by the advice of the IESC.
While New South Wales did not meet the milestones on time, it has since published a protocol for referring projects to the IESC.
NSW has also released draft regulatory amendments for comment, which will be finalised as part of broader reforms to CSG policy and regulation.
Under the National Partnership, the four States had agreed to amend their relevant laws and regulations so that coal seam gas or coal mining developments that are likely to have a significant impact on water resources are referred to the IESC; and decision makers on applications take account of the IESC’s advice in a transparent manner.
Chairman of the COAG Reform Council, John Brumby said it was important that governments legislated to receive the best possible scientific advice when considering future CSG projects.
“CSG exploration might be a contentious issue, but it has a place in Australia’s future energy security and economic development,” Mr Brumby said.
“It is important for States involved in making decisions on CSG and large coal mining exploration to improve the community’s confidence by informing those decisions with independent expert advice.”
The States are eligible for a share in $20 million funding for completing their milestones and benchmarks.
The council’s report can be accessed at www.coagreformcouncil.gov.au
Edition 380, 24 September 2013