Page MP Kevin Hogan has betrayed his constituents and the National Party has walked away from its commitments to protect the national ‘water trigger’ on coal seam gas, according to Lock the Gate (LTG).
The so-called ‘trigger’ legislation was passed during the dying days of the Labor federal government last year and gave the federal environment department an opportunity to intervene in controversial CSG and coal mining projects.
Former Page Labor MP Janelle Saffin was instrumental in developing the legislation.
The Nats and Liberals last week voted in federal parliament to allow the trigger to be handed back to the states, with some additional amendments added by Mr Hogan that would require state governments to activate it under certain circumstances.
But LTG says Mr Hogan, who promised before the election to cross the floor on the CSG issue if necessary, ‘turned his back on iron-clad commitments made to his electorate’.
‘Last week in parliament, the National Party voted to allow the federal water trigger to be handed back to the states, rendering it completely meaningless’, said Phil Laird, National Co-ordinator for Lock the Gate Alliance.
‘This trigger was introduced because of the severe risks to water supplies posed by CSG and the abject failures of the states to properly assess or protect important, nationally significant water sources.
‘Self interested state governments can’t be trusted to properly regulate nationally important water resources that cross state boundaries such as the Murray-Darling Basin or the Great Artesian Basin.
‘Voting this trigger down is a huge betrayal of farming communities and our environment. LNP figures who vowed publicly that the water trigger would not be touched if they were elected, should now hang their heads in shame’ he said.
‘Despite iron-clad guarantees to his electorate, last week Kevin Hogan voted to allow the federal water trigger to be handed back to the states’ said Michael McNamara, spokesperson with Gasfield Free Northern Rivers.
‘Before the last election, Hogan made a specific commitment not to support Federal environment powers being handed back to the states and threatened to “cross the floor” on CSG.
‘However, last week in federal parliament that commitment lay in tatters, and Kevin Hogan voted for the bill which has gutted the water trigger on CSG mining. He had his one big chance to cross the floor, and he blew it.
‘Kevin Hogan staked his candidacy for the seat of Page on the CSG issue, and the people of the electorate deserve to know they have been abandoned. If this new bill passes the senate, federal decisions on CSG water impacts will effectively be history’, he said.