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Thursday, 12 February 2015
Page: 621


Senator XENOPHON (South Australia) (13:41): by leave—I move amendments (1) and (2) on sheet 7458 together:

(1) Clause 2, page 1 (lines 18 to 20), omit the clause, substitute:

2 Commencement

   (1) Each provision of this Act specified in column 1 of the table commences, or is taken to have commenced, in accordance with column 2 of the table. Any other statement in column 2 has effect according to its terms.

Commencement information

 

Column 1

Column 2

Provision(s)

Commencement

1. Sections 1 to 3 and anything in this Act not elsewhere covered by this table

The day this Act receives the Royal Assent.

2. Schedules 1 and 2

The day after this Act receives the Royal Assent.

3. Schedule 3

A single day to be fixed by Proclamation.

However, if the provision(s) do not commence within the period of 6 months beginning on the day this Act receives the Royal Assent, they commence on the day after the end of that period.

Note:    This table relates only to the provisions of this Act as originally enacted. It will not be amended to deal with any later amendments of this Act.

   (2) Any information in column 3 of the table is not part of this Act. Information may be inserted in this column, or information in it may be edited, in any published version of this Act.

(2) Page 14 (after line 23), at the end of the Bill, add:

Schedule 3—Hydraulic fracturing

Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999

1 Subdivision FB of Division 1 of Part 3 (heading)

   After "coal seam gas development", insert ", hydraulic fracturing development".

2 After subparagraphs 24D(1)(a)(i), (2)(a)(i) and (3)(a)(i) and 24E(1)(a)(i), (2)(a)(i) and (3)(a)(i)

   Insert:

      (ia) hydraulic fracturing development; or

3 Subsection 130(4A)

   After "Coal Seam Gas", insert ", Hydraulic Fracturing".

4 Section 131AB (heading)

   After "Coal Seam Gas", insert ", Hydraulic Fracturing".

5 After subparagraph 131AB(1)(a)(i)

   Insert:

      (ia) hydraulic fracturing development; or

6 Subsection 131AB(2)

   After "Coal Seam Gas", insert ", Hydraulic Fracturing".

7 Paragraph 136(2)(fa)

   After "Coal Seam Gas", insert ", Hydraulic Fracturing".

8 Subparagraph 304(1)(a)(viia)

   After "coal seam gas development", insert ", hydraulic fracturing development".

9 Paragraph 305(1)(ga)

   After "coal seam gas development", insert ", hydraulic fracturing development".

10 Subparagraphs 305(1A)(b)(via) and (c)(viia)

   After "coal seam gas development", insert ", hydraulic fracturing development".

11 Paragraph 305(2)(ea)

   After "coal seam gas development", insert ", hydraulic fracturing development".

12 Subparagraphs 306(1)(a)(viia) and (b)(viia) and (2)(a)(viia) and (b)(viia)

   After "coal seam gas development", insert ", hydraulic fracturing development".

13 Division 2B of Part 19 (heading)

   After "Coal Seam Gas", insert ", Hydraulic Fracturing".

14 Subsection 505C(1)

   After "Coal Seam Gas", insert ", Hydraulic Fracturing".

15 Paragraphs 505D(1)(a) and (b)

   After "coal seam gas developments", insert ", hydraulic fracturing developments".

16 Subparagraph 505D(1)(c)(i)

   After "coal seam gas development", insert ", hydraulic fracturing development".

17 Subparagraphs 505D(1)(d)(i) and (ii)

   After "coal seam gas developments", insert ", hydraulic fracturing developments".

18 Paragraph 505D(1)(e)

   After "coal seam gas developments", insert ", hydraulic fracturing developments".

19 Paragraphs 505D(1)(f) and (g)

   After "coal seam gas development", insert ", hydraulic fracturing development".

20 Paragraph 506(d)

   After "Coal Seam Gas", insert ", Hydraulic Fracturing".

21 Section 528 (definition of " bioregional assessment " )

   After "coal seam gas development", insert ", hydraulic fracturing development".

22 Section 528

   Insert:

   hydraulic fracturing development means any activity involving hydraulic fracturing that has, or is likely to have, a significant impact on water resources (including any impacts of associated salt production and/or salinity):

   (a) in its own right; or

   (b) when considered with other developments, whether past, present or reasonably foreseeable developments.

23 Section 528 (definition of Independent Expert Scientific Committee on Coal Seam Gas and Large Coal Mining Development )

   Repeal the definition.

I indicated in broad terms what this amendment was about in my brief second reading contribution. Effectively, it is to ensure that the Independent Expert Scientific Committee on Coal Seam Gas and Large Coal Mining Development, passed by the previous parliament, and the associated advice and reporting requirements also apply to hydraulic fracking. These are views expressed to me by my South Australian constituents from the Limestone Coast Protection Alliance committee, including people such as Dr Catherine Pye, who is a medical doctor; Dr Clive Carlyle, who is an adviser and a member of the committee; Dennis Vice, who is a winegrower from the Coonawarra; and Tony Beck, from the committee as well, who is a farmer involved in livestock and who has been involved in Landcare for many years. These are people who have a genuine concern about the impact of hydraulic fracking.

It is important that what I see as an anomaly, as an undue restriction in the Independent Expert Scientific Committee on Coal Seam Gas and Large Coal Mining Development, be extended to hydraulic fracking, because the impact on a watertable and the impact on prime agricultural land could very well be the same. This is not 'stop development'; this is not 'stop fracking'. But it provides for the rigour and for independent scientific advice to be applied and exercised in such cases. Not to do so, I think, would be anomalous in the context of what the CSG legislation—for want of a better word, that independent committee—was about.

If this particular amendment is not passed—and I would be grateful, in order to avoid a division, to hear the views of the government and the opposition in respect of this—the issue will not go away. If you damage a watertable, and if there is not adequate benchmarking and adequate assessment and scientific evaluation, the potential impact on prime agricultural land can be very significant. So I would like to get an indication from the government and the opposition of whether they support this, and, if not, whether they would support a robust Senate inquiry into this issue as to whether the independent scientific panel should look hydraulic fracking.

I am very grateful for the support of the Australian Greens. Senator Waters has had a pre-eminent leadership role on this issue of fracking and its impact on prime agricultural land. I am very grateful for her leadership on this.