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Wednesday, 11 May 2011
Page: 2297


Senator LUDWIG (QueenslandMinister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry, Manager of Government Business in the Senate and Minister Assisting the Attorney-General on Queensland Floods Recovery) (15:41): The government indicated that it did not support the motion although it does appreciate—and I can say this in a more measured way than perhaps Senator Joyce—the public concerns about this issue, which is primarily regulated by the states. The government notes that it has already made a commitment to the member for New England, who chairs the Regional Australia Committee, to investigate coal-seam gas mining. In this capacity the Commonwealth will support that inquiry which will include some of the relevant matters that Senator Brown's motion refers to.

The government also notes that at present the New South Wales government is formally developing a strategy to investigate many of the areas raised in Senator Brown's notice of motion, and pending the conclusion of this review the regulatory environment is uncertain in New South Wales, making an inquiry at this time premature in our view. I do note the fracture that is developing between the National Party and the Liberal Party on this issue, though.

Senator Williams: Mr President, I seek leave to make short statement

The DEPUTY PRESIDENT: Leave is granted for two minutes.