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Coal and Climate Change

Blog
Lee Rhiannon 13 Mar 2014

The issue of coal and climate change was prominent in Parliament last week and I took the opportunity to speak on two important pieces of legislation. I spoke about the particular impacts of mining in NSW when speaking on the Clean Energy Legislation Repeal Bill. I strongly feel that we need a government who will plan a transition away from the destructive coal industry, and support growth in jobs in a range of other industries. The attempt at removing the clean energy legislation that was so hard won is a step away from this.
My colleague, Senator Larissa Waters also introduced a bill to ensure that landholders on food producing properties have a right to refuse coal and gas exploration. You can see my speech in support of that here. Unfortunately Labor joined the Coalition to defeat the bill.
During Estimates in February I was shocked to hear the Managing Director of Australian Rail Track Corporation (ARTC), John Fullerton, say that the ARTC is working with the NSW Minerals Council to "allay community concerns about coal dust and air quality". Mr Fullerton said he had not seen the reports from Katestone in 2011 for the NSW government or the Queensland Rail Connell Hatch Report from 2008 which both recommend covering coal wagons. The ARTC is a government owned corporation and should not be promoting the coal industry's agenda.
Senator Waters was also successful in winning support in the Senate for an inquiry into the use of environmental offsets that companies and governments argue can compensate for damage done by mines and other large scale developments. Offsets have been used in the approval of the Maules Creek mine, in northern NSW.

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