The Commonwealth government has the power to protect Australia from the negative impacts of coal mining and coal seam gas and shouldn’t pass responsibility to the states, according to new research commissioned by The Australia Institute.
The research, released today, was untaken by the Australian Network of Environmental Defender’s Offices.
It identifies areas of the Constitution of Australia which would allow for nine national reforms to protect Australia’s communities, food security, health, water, climate and biodiversity.
The report found that the federal government could pursue the following reforms:
1. Strengthening the National Food Plan and Australian Food Council to protect agricultural land
2. Establishing a National Environment Protection Authority to improve air quality regulation
3. Ensuring consistent regulatory standards through a National Mining Policy Statement
4. Reforming relevant export control laws
5. Protect water resources from impacts of coal and unconventional gas mining
6. Improve regulation of chemicals used in coal and unconventional gas mining
7. Improve biodiversity protections
8. Protect world heritage areas from impacts of coal and unconventional gas mining
9. Require comprehensive and accurate accounting of all emissions from coal and unconventional gas mining
“The federal government has been passing the buck on mining and coal seam gas regulation to states, but the reality is we can reform the industry at a Commonwealth level,” Executive Director of The Australia Institute, Dr Richard Denniss said.
“This report proves federal governments can make real change on this issue and it’s time they stepped up and made it happen.
“The Coalition has made it clear that it would pass responsibility for these regulations to the states. Allowing the states to make these decisions without robust reform at a federal level could be disastrous for our communities, the environment and the economy.”
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