A NEW Bill to give landholders the right to block mining or coal seam gas (CSG) operations on their property will come before the Senate today .
Greens mining spokeswoman Senator Larissa Waters will introduce the Landholders’ Right to Refuse Gas and Coal Bill this afternoon, but it appears unlikely to succeed after another, comparatively modest, move was rejected in the Senate on Tuesday.
Ms Waters proposed a Senate motion to ban mining and CSG on the Liverpool Plains. Labor and Liberal Senators voted against the motion, which proposed “that the Liverpool Plains should be permanently off limits to coal mining and coal seam gas extraction”.
Nationals Senators absented themselves from the vote by removing themselves from the chamber when the motion was brought.
Ms Waters is calling for the major parties to now back her more ambitious Bill, which states:
The Bill would draw on the corporations power under the Australian constitution to legally empower landholders, local councils and Native Title holders a right to veto resources exploration.
“Federally, the major parties try to fob off this issue as a state one, but the states have not acted to protect land, water and communities so it is time the Commonwealth stepped in to do so,” Ms Waters said.
“Landholders still do not have any legal rights to protect their land, water and climate, from coal and gas when the big mining companies come knocking,” she said.
“At the moment it’s a David and Goliath battle as the big mining companies know landholders don’t have any legal rights to refuse coal or gas mining.”
Ms Waters said the Bill would also ban the controversial technique of pressurising coal seams to extract gas, known as fracking.
Her Bill would retain the states’ ownership of minerals resources and its ability to compulsorily acquire land.