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Thursday, 12 November 2015
Page: 8430


Senator LAZARUS (Queensland) (12:12): I seek leave to amend general business notice of motion No. 937 standing in my name.

Leave granted.

Senator LAZARUS: I move the motion as amended:

(1) That a select committee, to be known as the Select Committee on Unconventional Gas Mining, be established to inquire into and report on or before 30 June 2016, on the following matter:

The adequacy of Australia's legislative, regulatory and policy framework for unconventional gas mining including coal seam gas (CSG) and shale gas mining, with reference to:

(a) a national approach to the conduct of unconventional gas mining in Australia;

(b) the health, social, business, agricultural, environmental, landholder and economic impacts of unconventional gas mining;

(c) government and non-Government services and assistance for those affected;

(d) compensation and insurance arrangements;

(e) compliance and penalty arrangements;

(f) harmonisation of federal and state/territory government legislation, regulations and policies;

(g) legislative and regulatory frameworks for unconventional gas mining in comparable overseas jurisdictions;

(h) the unconventional gas industry in Australia as an energy provider;

(i) The current royalty and taxation arrangements associated with unconventional gas mining; and

(j) any related matter.

(2) That the committee consist of 5 senators, 1 nominated by the Leader of the Government in the Senate, 2 nominated by the Leader of the Opposition in the Senate, 1 nominated by the Leader of the Australian Greens, and Senator Lazarus.

(3) That:

(a) participating members may be appointed to the committee on the nomination of the Leader of the Government in the Senate, the Leader of the Opposition in the Senate or any minority groups or independent senators;

(b) participating members may participate in hearings of evidence and deliberations of the committee, and have all the rights of members of the committee, but may not vote on any questions before the committee; and

(c) a participating member shall be taken to be a member of the committee for the purpose of forming a quorum of the committee if a majority of members of the committee is not present.

(4) That every nomination of a member of the committee be notified in writing to the President of the Senate.

(5) That the committee may proceed to the dispatch of business notwithstanding that not all members have been duly nominated and appointed and notwithstanding any vacancy.

(6) That Senator Lazarus is appointed chair.

(7) That the committee elect a member as its deputy chair, who shall act as chair when the chair is absent from a meeting of the committee or the position of chair is temporarily vacant.

(8) That the chair, or the deputy chair when acting as chair, may appoint another member of the committee to act as chair during the temporary absence of both the chair and deputy chair at a meeting of the committee.

(9) That, in the event of an equally divided vote, the chair, or the deputy chair when acting as chair, have a casting vote.

(10) That 3 members of the committee constitute a quorum of the committee.

(11) That the committee have power to appoint subcommittees consisting of 2 or more of its members, and to refer to any such subcommittee any of the matters which the committee is empowered to examine.

(12) That 2 members of a subcommittee constitute a quorum of that subcommittee.

(13) That members of the committee who are not members of a subcommittee may participate in the proceedings of that subcommittee but shall not vote, move any motion or be counted for the purpose of a quorum.

(14) That the committee and any subcommittee have power to send for and examine persons and documents, to move from place to place, to sit in public or in private, notwithstanding any prorogation of the Parliament or dissolution of the House of Representatives, and have leave to report from time to time its proceedings, the evidence taken and such interim recommendations as it may deem fit.

(15) That the committee be provided with all necessary staff, facilities and resources and be empowered to appoint persons with specialist knowledge for the purposes of the committee with the approval of the President.

(16) That the committee be empowered to print from day to day such papers and evidence as may be ordered by it, and a daily Hansard be published of such proceedings as take place in public.

I seek leave to make a short statement.

The DEPUTY PRESIDENT: Leave is granted for one minute.

Senator LAZARUS: I have been fighting for over 12 months for farmers and landholders to have the right to say no to CSG and other forms of unconventional mining taking place on their land. Sadly, some four weeks ago George Bender, a brave and courageous Queensland cotton farmer, took his own life because he could not cope with the stress and devastation of CSG mining happening on his cotton farm. Today I am taking a stand for all families, farmers and landholders across rural and regional Australia who are having to suffer the impact of CSG and other forms of unconventional gas mining. I am determined to ensure that George Bender did not die in vain. My motion establishes a committee to inquire into the human impact of CSG and other forms of unconventional gas mining. We must listen to the people of Australia. We must investigate the impact of CSG. We must acknowledge, face and respond to the suffering and devastation that is being endured by farmers and landholders at the hands of this industry.