Greens slam major parties on CSG stance

The Australian Greens have slammed the major parties for failing to support a moratorium on coal seam gas mining and failing to protect the Great Barrier Reef from dredging.

Greens senator Larissa Waters failed to garner support from Labor, the Nationals and the Liberals to support two motions in the Senate on Wednesday.

Senator Waters accused the Nationals of abandoning their own policy by failing to show up for a vote on the CSG motion after saying it must be absolutely clear no CSG development should occur unless its proven safe for the environment.

She said the Nationals had been “too gutless” to stand up to the Liberals on the issue.

“They’ve sold out their constituents to the coal seam gas companies by lacking the courage to stand by those words in parliament,” the senator said.

“The Liberals have now voted down the Nationals’ position on coal seam gas – it seems that the coalition are divided on the issue and the Nationals are too afraid to stick up for their own policies.

“Both sides of the coalition have been trying to tell the bush that they are listening to people’s concerns about coal seam gas, while taking no action at all to rein in the risky industry.”

People in the bush should rightly be disappointed in the Nationals, the Liberals and the government for that matter, Senator Waters said.

If studies proved CSG mining was environmentally safe, the Greens would not oppose the industry.

The CSG industry was also contributing to damage to the Great Barrier Reef through mass dredging projects, prompting a move for a motion by the Greens to suspend the activity.

“When the World Heritage committee is concerned about what Australia is doing to its reef and the government won’t act and neither will the opposition then I’m afraid we’ve got a bit of trouble on our hands,” Senator Waters told reporters.

“We have one reef, it is utterly precious and priceless, it’s a biodiversity icon, it does employ 67,000 Australians and it does bring in a lot of dough to our bottom line.”

The Greens will press on with its push to stop dredging and development at the reef, with the senator set to clarify in the Senate next week Environment Minister Tony Burke’s ability to protect the reef.

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