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Old parties ignore community and recommend against Greens' bill to give landholders rights to say no to coal and gas and to ban fracking



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Senator Larissa Waters Senator for Queensland

Media release

Thursday, 1 October 2015

Old parties ignore community and recommend against Greens’ bill to give landholders rights to say no to coal and gas and to ban fracking

The old-party dominated Senate Inquiry into the Greens’ bill to give landholders the right to say no to coal and gas and to ban fracking has recommended not passing the bill, despite strong community support.

Queensland Senator Larissa Waters, Australian Greens Deputy Leader and mining spokesperson, said:

“This is a deeply disappointing outcome after the Inquiry heard from hundreds of people and organisations, with 95 per cent of them supporting the bill.

“It’s clear to the community that the balance between big mining companies and landholders is hopelessly skewed towards big coal and gas.

“The big parties seem to ignore this gross inequity because of the massive political donations they take from big mining companies.

“I wholeheartedly thank the landholders who shared their personal stories of the impacts of being overrun by big coal and gas on their families, livelihoods, water and land.

“The Greens will continue to stand strong with farmers, traditional owners and local councils, who want to protect their land, water and climate.

“Eventually the old parties will have to listen to the community instead of their big mining donors,” Senator Waters said.

Contact: Monique Vandeleur 0419 626 725

The inquiry heard many hours of evidence from farmers and landholders on the front lines in the struggle against coal and unconventional gas. Some examples which are also extracted in the Australian Greens’ Dissenting report:

Lynette Nicholson from the Basin Sustainability Alliance (Queensland):

...the claims by industry and government that the 4,500 to 5,000 [land access agreements] already signed by landholders and the fact that very few landholders have utilised courts were somehow evidence that landholders were happily coexisting with the resource companies. Nothing could be further from the truth. Landholders are compelled to sign the CCA. There is nothing voluntary about the process.

Rosemary Nankivell from SOS Liverpool Plains (New South Wales):

...the bill uses the term 'agreement'. I can tell you unequivocally that, when dealing with a resource company, there is no such thing as an agreement. In some cases, perhaps, a painful type of coexistence results, but it is the farming community that does the giving.

Kirsty Kelly from People for the Plains (New South Wales):

All the power lies with the coal and gas companies; the landholders' only position is to accept or go to legal challenge. There is much discussion about coexistence between coal and gas and agriculture. But how can you have coexistence when all the power lies with one party?

More information:

* Old-party dominated Senate Inquiry report recommending against the Australian Greens’ bill to give landholders the right to say no to coal and gas and to ban fracking * Australian Greens Dissenting Report