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Thursday, 5 March 2015
Page: 1285

Senator FIFIELD (VictoriaManager of Government Business in the Senate and Assistant Minister for Social Services) (11:56): I seek leave to make a short statement.

The DEPUTY PRESIDENT: Leave is granted for one minute.

Senator FIFIELD: The development of onshore resources is primarily an issue for the relevant state or territory. The Australian government meets its obligations under the EPBC Act. This government supports the responsible development of resources based on scientific evidence, with the involvement of local communities and appropriate environmental safeguards. This government has always been clear about its three principles for the development of resources. These are that access to agricultural land should only be done with the farmers' agreement and that farmers should be fairly compensated, that there must be no long-term damage to water resources used for agriculture and local communities and that prime agricultural land and quality water resources must not e compromised for future generations. In practice companies do not enter land without the agreement of the farmer or landholder. The best outcomes can be achieved where resource companies work cooperatively with landholders to negotiate land access agreements that balance all interests.