In the understanding that coal seam gas and large coal mining developments may have an impact water resources, South Australia has followed in the footsteps of Queensland and the New South Wales Government with signing up to the Gillard Government’s National Partnership Agreement on Coal Seam Gas and Large Coal Mining.
Essentially, the state agreed to tougher regulations for future coal seam gas and large coal mining projects, which means all environmental approvals and licensing developments for coal seam gas and large coal mining developments in South Australia, will be based on rigorous scientific evidence.
The National Partnership Agreement specifies $150 million for a new Independent Expert Scientific Committee, to:
- Provide governments with expert scientific advice on CSG and large coal mining development proposals that are likely to have a significant impact on water resources;
- Make public its advice and the findings of all research undertaken; and
- Commission public research and bioregional assessments in areas of high CSG and/or large coal mining developments in order to improve scientific knowledge and understanding of the impacts of these developments, both in specific locations and on water resources more broadly.
‘Coal seam gas and coal can bring huge opportunities – both in investment and job creation – but it is important to maintain community confidence in these developments.
The new Committee will fill the gaps in scientific understanding about the impacts of these developments, and underpin the safe and reliable expansion of the industry.’ PM
Prime Minister Julia Gillard wrote to the Premiers of NSW, Queensland, Victoria, SA and the Chief Minister of the Northern Territory in November asking them to sign on to the Agreement.