Australian Greens mining spokesperson, Senator Larissa Waters, poured cold water on the PM’s comments yesterday on coal seam gas.
Kevin Rudd said that under Labor the federal government would retain the last say on CSG developments ‘in critical areas like the northern rivers in particular’.
‘Our environment minister will be making the decision,’ he told media, ‘not some state government minister in Macquarie Street.’
Mr Rudd made the comments while touring the north coast with local MP Janelle Saffin.
But launching the Greens’ plan with Richmond candidate Dawn Walker in Tweed Heads yesterday, Senator Waters said the Greens were the only major party committing to a policy of no new coal seam gas.
She added, ‘both Labor and the Nationals have failed to knock back a coal seam gas proposal yet’.
Opposition leader Tony Abbott has said he would hand final authority over mining approvals to the state governments as part of his drive to slash so-called ‘green tape’.
‘In an age of food insecurity, at the end of the fossil fuel area, it’s crazy to be allowing coal seam gas mining, and with viable renewable alternatives at hand, the old parties have no excuses,’ Senator Waters said.
‘It’s incredibly shortsighted to be endangering places of exceptional environmental value like Tweed Heads and Byron Bay, which support vibrant sustainable tourism and cultural industries.’
Australian Greens candidate for Richmond, Dawn Walker, said the overwhelming majority of locals were against coal seam gas in the area, with 95 per cent of respondents to road surveys saying it isn’t worth the risk.
‘Coal seam gas risks what locals love most about our region – its environmental integrity that inspires our dynamic cultural scene and sense of community.
‘Federal Labor has allowed the New South Wales and Queensland governments to rush through coal seam gas approvals – not one has been refused, despite community outrage.
‘Even though mining companies are investing in exploration licences in the Tweed and Byron shires, the Nationals are telling us there’s no coal seam gas in Richmond.
‘Locals won’t be fooled by the old parties’ poor excuses and appalling track records.
‘The Greens are the only party standing with the community and saying no new coal seam gas; we have renewable alternatives,’ Ms Walker said.