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Thursday, 15 October 2015
Page: 7777


Senator LAZARUS (Queensland) (12:32): I move:

That the Senate:

(a) notes that the people of Queensland have no legal right to stop mining companies from entering their land to mine coal seam gas (CSG);

(b) further notes that rural and regional communities across Queensland are being devastated by the impact of CSG mining, including loss of underground water, contamination of underground and surface water, health impacts, mental health issues, reduced quality of life, reduced land values and other forms of stress, trauma and suffering;

(c) acknowledges that the impact of CSG mining and the behaviour of resource companies in harassing, bullying and intimidating landholders is splintering families, dividing communities and creating personal and financial hardship;

(d) understands that the people affected by CSG mining have no fair and equitable legal recourse to address their concerns given the significant power imbalance between those affected and the mining companies;

(e) calls on the Government to urgently consider the establishment of a Resources Ombudsman and a CSG Mining Commissioner to address the issues being experienced by the people of Queensland and elsewhere across the country affected by CSG mining; and

(f) urges the Government to consider undertaking an urgent audit of the human impacts of CSG mining, and to establish support services and other forms of assistance, including medical assistance, for those affected by CSG mining.

I seek leave to make a short statement about the motion I have just moved.

The DEPUTY PRESIDENT: Leave is granted for one minute.

Senator LAZARUS: Yesterday, Australia lost a great Queenslander and a great Australian in George Bender. My thoughts and deepest sympathies go out to George's family and the Chinchilla community at this difficult time. I promise to ensure George's death was not in vain and that everyone across the country understands the damage and destruction CSG mining is doing to the people of Queensland. George was a brave, courageous, big-hearted cotton farmer in Chinchilla who fought for 10 years to stop CSG miners from entering his land to mine. All his bores had dried up because CSG mining in nearby areas had depleted the underground water, and contaminated water was all that was left. If this was not enough, the mining companies then wanted to mine on George's land.

Queenslanders have no right to say no to miners coming onto their land to mine CSG. They are left to fend for themselves against the greed and the might of mining companies. Please help me stop the scourge of CSG mining in Queensland and restore the rights of our people to stop the needless loss of human life and the devastation caused by CSG mining.

The DEPUTY PRESIDENT: The question is that general business notice of motion No. 903 be agreed to.