An Environmental Defenders Office report released today confirms that the Federal Parliament has wide constitutional powers to control coal and unconventional gas mining and that far-reaching national reforms as called for by Lock the Gate Alliance are possible.
The report proves that the Federal Parliament has the power to deliver on Lock The Gate Alliance’s national campaign, Call to Country. It identifies nine similar major reforms that could be implemented, including ground-breaking proposals for:
- A new national law to protect food-producing land from coal and gas mining and give farmers the right to reject mining on their land.
- A national Environmental Protection Authority and a new Clean Air and Water Act to protect human health and water resources.
- Amendments to the Customs Act to prohibit exports of coal and gas from areas important to the protection of existing Australian industries, significant natural resources and communities.
"The Federal Government and Opposition have been trying to pass the buck on coal and gas mining to state governments, stating that they have no power to act," said Carmel Flint, Campaign Co-ordinator with Lock The Gate Alliance.
"Well, the buck stops here today, with this report by the Environmental Defenders Office confirming that the Federal Parliament has wide powers to act on coal and gas mining.
"In fact, the report confirms that the loopholes and laissez fare approach taken by state governments makes Federal intervention an urgent priority.”
The report comes after a Lock The Gate Alliance analysis of party policy and action on coal seam gas and coal mining, released last week, showed that Labor, Liberals and Nationals were all failing to take reasonable action.
"With the only leadership in parliament coming from the minor parties, we're calling on all Federal politicians to now step up to the plate, and commit to national law reforms to protect farming communities, public health, water resources and Australian industries.”