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Tuesday, 28 February 2012
Page: 2165

Mr ADAMS (Lyons) (16:54): On Thursday, 15 September 2011 the House of Representatives select committee report referred the Environmental Protection Biodiversity Conservation Amendment (Mining, Petroleum and Water Resources) Bill 2011 to the House of Representatives Agriculture, Resources, Fisheries and Forestry Committee for inquiry. The bill was introduced into the House of Representatives on 11 September 2011 by the member for New England. As I will explain, the committee is of the view that the bill should not pass at this time.

As outlined in the report, this bill was introduced at a time when there was considerable community debate about coal seam gas exploration and extraction. Since the bill was introduced there have been a number of policy developments regarding the regulation of coal seam gas. The committee asked the Australian government as well as all state and territory governments to provide submissions to the inquiry. The committee received six submissions. These submissions were very useful to the committee and I would like to thank those governments that took the time to make submissions.

As I just noted, there have been some policy developments since this bill was introduced in the House. The new Standing Council on Energy and Resources under COAG has agreed to develop a national harmonised regulatory framework for the CSG industry. The Prime Minister has made undertakings to the member for New England relating to coal seam gas during parliamentary considerations of the mineral resource rent tax. These policy developments are discussed in detail in the report and the committee supports them. The committee has found that, if these developments are implemented as planned, the bill would be unnecessary. However, the committee is aware that there is a lot of outstanding work on these developments to be completed. A final judgment on the bill cannot be made at the moment. Therefore the committee will monitor these matters. As I noted a moment ago, the committee is of the view that the bill should not be passed at this time.

I would like to thank the members of the committee for their work in relation to the inquiry and thank the various governments for their submissions to the inquiry. I commend the report to the House.

Debate adjourned.