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Government listens to farmers on national CSG approach

28 October 2011

The National Farmers’ Federation (NFF) has welcomed the call from the Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry that a harmonised framework be developed across all States and Territories on future coal seam gas developments.

NFF President Jock Laurie said the Minister’s comments reflect the NFF’s recent discussions with the Prime Minister.

“We spoke to the Prime Minister just last week about the need for a consistent approach across all jurisdictions on the issue of coal seam gas,” Mr Laurie said.

“The regulation that currently governs the exploration and development of coal seam gas is primarily a state responsibility, and varies markedly across state boundaries.

“But many of the issues that the agricultural industry has raised, including the potential impact on water resources, the regulation of the use of chemicals and the interaction between coal seam gas companies, landholders and the communities, are issues across all jurisdictions so there is a real need for a common approach.

“In addition to today’s Primary Industries Ministerial Council meeting, we also think this issue should be elevated to COAG, due to the potential ramifications of coal seam gas developments on the broader issues of land use and food security, and the intense frustration in the community around these issues.

“Just yesterday we saw a blockade start on the Liverpool Plains in NSW against coal seam gas exploration – yet another sign that farmers and communities do not feel like they are being heard.

“We note that the Minister for Resources has already started discussions at COAG on the harmonisation of mining legislation, so now is the perfect time for a national discussion on issues underpinning both mining and coal seam gas developments on a Federal level,” Mr Laurie said.

Mr Laurie's comments come as the NFF Mining and Coal Seam Gas Taskforce met in the Hunter Valley, NSW, earlier today to look at land use change issues from both a local and national perspective.

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