Majority of likely Senate crossbench supports protection of land, water and communities from mining

Published: July 06, 2016

The majority of crossbench senators likely to be elected to the Australian Senate are on record as upholding the protection of prime agricultural land, water and communities from coal seam gas, according to analysis by the Lock the Gate Alliance.

The Greens, Bob Katter, Andrew Wilkie, Jackie Lambie and Pauline Hanson have all publicly advocated for water and landholders’ rights over mining, while Nick Xenophon has championed the extension of the crucial Federal “water trigger” legislation to shale gas fracking.

Phil Laird said Australians have again voted in a Senate crossbench who wanted landscapes and water protected from mining, and to reassert the values and human rights of landholders and traditional owners.

“The entry of small parties and independents into the balance of power in the Senate is an opportunity for Australia to protect people, communities, water and rural economies from damaging coal and coal seam gas mining,” Laird said.

“The commitments and on-record comments from the majority of likely crossbench Senators show the Australian Senate would be unlikely to weaken any laws that protect water resources from coal and unconventional gas and mining, and we hope that such laws can be strengthened.

“Cooperation by the crossbench Senators to control coal and gas mining would have broad community support.

“Two-thirds of voters oppose easing restrictions on CSG exploration, according to an ABC Vote Compass poll taken in the lead-up to this election. Polling in NSW has shown a majority of voters think coal and gas mining has done more harm than good, and that voters in four Coalition-held electorates support a moratorium on new coal mines.

“Farmers, traditional owners and the broad community have come together across the nation in an unprecedented movement to protect land and water resources from mining impacts. Cooperation to tackle the effects of coal and gas mining is not only possible: it is imperative.

“We urge all new members and Senators to work together to tackle the major strategic challenges posed by coal and gas mining,” he said.


LTG: Where does the crossbench stand?

• Support farmers ahead of mining interests
• Stand firmly on the side of landholders, who don't have a legal right to refuse mining companies' access to explore and mine their land
• Greens have introduced three separate bills to give landholders including traditional owners the right to say ‘no' to coal and gas, and to ban fracking.

Federal election policy here:

Xenophon team
• In the last parliament, Nick Xenophon moved important amendments to extend the application of the EPBC water trigger to shale gas, which threatens wine-growers and tourism on the Limestone Coast.
• Opposed the one-stop-shop and the removal of environment groups’ right to challenge damaging projects.
• Has voted moderately against unconventional gas mining.
• Has indicated support for renewable energy.
• Policy platform indicates a commitment to reducing Australia’s emissions by 40%-60% by 2030 and an increase in renewable energy’s share of electricity demand to 50%
• SA community attitude polling could be influential (see below)

• Supporter of exploiting the “cleanest fossil fuels” but also has policy commitment to “strong support of the right of farmers and other citizens to manage their resources and live without uninvited interference”.
• KAP held a ‘crisis’ meeting in Chinchilla last week that agreed to series of resolutions to help landholders in their dealings with multi-national gas companies.
• One of the key resolutions was that resources companies reimburse landowners any costs of negotiation, irrespective of whether an agreement is signed, within 30 days of proceedings.
• Environment and Climate Policy upholds the precautionary principle should be applied to mining and extractive industries.
• KAP environment policy also commits to prevent the extraction of csg within three kilometres of an acquifer,

Andrew Wilkie
• Has voted strongly against unconventional gas mining
• Wants to phase out coal and gas fired power stations

Jackie Lambie
• Is not anti mining in general – but strongly opposed to mining at risk of agricultural land and water, critical of major parties and Nationals for allowing this failure
• Opposed the one-stop-shop and the removal of environment groups’ right to challenge damaging projects.
• Has protested Shenhua coal mine in NSW ,

One Nation
• Opposes Coal Seam Gas Mining until there is substantial evidence that it does not affect people’s health, the environment, our farming and water.
• Is gravely concerned about Coal Seam Gas and believes that Australians have a right to know what the full impact of CSG is on the environment, now and in the future.
• Says that we must protect our rivers, land and environment at all costs to maintain a safe place to live, grow our food and source our drinking water.
• Are concerned that most of the CSG drillers are multinationals who pay no tax and ship their profits overseas.

Party Policy on CSG

Bob Day
• Appears to be pro-coal for jobs and exports , ,
• Climate Change denier: “There is no evidence that CO2 has influenced the climate in the past or that it could do so in the future.” ,

Derryn Hinch
• Nothing on public record

Useful recent polling

Lock the Gate polling (2 June 2016) of SA residents shows:
- 82.3% of the community is concerned about the threats of shale gas fracking to water supplies and rich farming land in the state, escalating it as a major Federal election issue.
- 74.9% of South Australians believe landholders should have the right to say ‘no’ to fracking, including 71.1% of Liberal voters; and
- 67% of people in the state would support a moratorium on fracking in South Australia while more research is done to ensure it will not damage water and important agricultural industries, including winemaking.

Vote Compass: Australians oppose any relaxation of CSG restrictions
Two-thirds of voters say they oppose easing restrictions on CSG exploration, compared to just over half when the same question was asked during the 2013 federal election.


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