News

Feds keep control of “water trigger” to stop CSG projects

A COALITION attempt to give future federal governments the power to hand "water trigger" powers for coal seam gas projects back to states has been thwarted in the Senate.

The bill to amend the Environmental Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act, making water a trigger for Federal Government intervention in coal and CSG approvals, was still being debated in the Senate on Tuesday after two days of debate.

While the Coalition supports the water trigger, it opposes an amendment independent MP Tony Windsor attached to the bill in the lower house preventing the Commonwealth from handing decision-making powers back to the states.

An amendment moved by Coalition Senator Simon Birmingham, that would have effectively knocked out Mr Windsor's amendment, was defeated 34-28 on Monday night.

A host of Coalition senators rose to their feet to oppose Mr Windsor's amendment, arguing a regulatory impact statement was needed to examine its costs and effects on the CSG and coal industries.

Coalition senators also claimed the move was unnecessary considering an independent scientific committee had been established to examine CSG and coal development applications.

Senator Birmingham said the Windsor amendment would make it difficult for the Coalition to deliver on its promise, made in April last year, to make the states and territories a "one-stop shop" for environmental approvals.

"The Coalition is gravely concerned by the government's decision to adopt measures and to support amendments that tie their hands and tie the hands of future governments if they want to improve the efficiency of the EPBC Act, if they want to ensure that the duplication that occurs in assessments and approvals at Commonwealth and state level is minimised as much as possible," Senator Birmingham said.

"We think it is an outrage, to be frank, that the government have supported amendments that not only limit the use of these powers but fly in the face of what the government themselves had said they thought should be undertaken less than a year ago."

The Greens failed in their attempt to have the water trigger extended to shale gas developments.

Three remaining Greens' amendments, including one giving landholders the right to "lock out" CSG companies, were yet to be voted on.

Greens Senator Larissa Waters said Labor's environmental credentials were on the line.

"If Labor does not support these amendments, it will not have a shed of environmental legacy to leave before going to the election," Senator Waters said.

"The Coalition are using every opportunity to filibuster on the bill, but Greens are determined to see the bill both passed and improved with our amendments."

A final vote on the water trigger legislation was expected on Tuesday night.

Topics:  coal seam gas, csg, federal government, mining



BEACH SAFETY: Can you reduce your risk of a shark attack?

Yesterday's attack reminded us that sharks are still out there, despite a quiet year so far. There are some steps you can take to reduce the risk of an unwanted encounter.

Some tips and helpful apps to help you be safe

Local Partners

'Baby' recreates famous Nirvana cover shot 25 years later

The baby from Nevermind album has recreated the iconic cover shot.

PREVIEW: Luke Cage origin story is a strong addition to MCU

Mike Colter in a scene from the TV series Marvel's Luke Cage.

MIKE Colter stars as latest Marvel superhero to get his own series.

Kate goes down fighting in heated Survivor elimination

Australian Survivor contestant Kate Campbell.

YOGA teacher's 'good guys' alliance fails to get off the ground.

Emily Blunt's (almost) singing career

Emily Blunt nearly became the British Britney Spears.

Angelina is blocking calls from Brad Pritt

Angelina Jolie has reportedly blocked Brad Pitt's number.

Encounters on stage at Lennox Head

COMING SOON: Dancers Elizabeth Venn and Tess Eckert are part of Encounters, the upcoming performance by SPRUNG!! Integrated Dance Theatre Inc.

By Sprung!! Dance Theatre Inc

Buyers forking out millions

Owners benefiting from undersupplied Northern Rivers market

UPDATE: Former rodeo champ's sale rained out, now back on

Larkhill local Ken Consiglio is having an auction of most of the things on his property.

'People kept showing up and we had to turn them away'

Couple build their own 'tiny house' for $45k

Holly Bowen and Oli Bucher built their "tiny house" themselves, only hiring a plumber and an electrician. Photo/supplied

The house, which is built on a trailer and can be towed.

Sunshine Beach property breaks real estate record

The property overlooks Sunshine Beach, as the backyard lawn meets the sand.

Sunshine Beach mansion sale smashes real estate record

New $33 million development planned for Ballina Shire

The site of a proposed seniors living development at Skennars Head.

Plans include 211 homes, clubhouse and recreational facilities

SOLD: Historic hotel finds new owner

Post Office Hotel Grafton

Photo Adam Hourigan / The Daily Examiner

Pub in new hands and heading in a brand new direction