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ENVIRONMENT—COAL AND PASSENGER TRAINS—PARTICULATE EMISSIONS

Senator Rhiannon, pursuant to notice of motion not objected to as a formal motion, moved general business notice of motion no. 1201—That the Senate—

 (a) notes that:

  (i) a spokesperson for the Minister for Infrastructure and Transport was quoted on 16 March 2013 as saying that the level of particulate matter emitted by coal trains was not statistically significantly different to passenger trains,

  (ii) the Australian Rail Track Corporation (ARTC), a wholly government-owned corporation, commissioned a Rail Corridor Air Quality Monitoring Study, `Pollution Reduction Program 4 - Particulate Emissions from Coal Trains' released in September 2012, which assessed the levels of particulate pollution on the Hunter rail corridor at Mayfield and Metford and concluded that concentrations coinciding with loaded and unloaded coal train passes are statistically higher for PM10 and PM2.5 than concentrations recorded during passenger train passes,

  (iii) the ARTC earmarked $3.525 billion to spend on upgrading the Hunter coal rail network in its `Hunter Valley Corridor 2012-2021 Capacity Strategy', released June 2012, and

  (iv) there is a high level of concern about the health impacts of coal rail dust along frequently-used coal rail lines, such as communities along the Hunter Valley and Brisbane coal rail lines;

 (b) acknowledges the inconsistency between the spokesperson's comments that the difference between particulate emissions from coal and passenger trains is not statistically significant and the findings of the ARTC-commissioned particulate emissions study; and

 (c) requests that the Minister for Infrastructure and Transport (Mr Albanese) correct the comments or provide evidence to the Senate that proves the difference between particulate emissions from coal and passenger trains is not statistically significant.

Question put and negatived.

Statement by leave: Senator Rhiannon, by leave, made a statement relating to the motion.