Thursday, 28 August 2008
Questions without Notice
My question is to the Minister for the Environment, Heritage and the Arts and relates to coalmining exploration licences that have been granted on the Liverpool Plains region of northern New South Wales. Given that this region is underlaid with 20 interconnected groundwater systems covering 350 kilometres of the Namoi Valley, could the minister explain his understanding of the potential impacts of mining in such an environment? Does the minister believe that a localised state based planning process is an adequate approval process when there is no knowledge of the impacts of slashing these hydraulic systems and when the impact may occur many hundreds of kilometres away from the site of the mining project?
I thank the honourable member for his question. The member would know that the responsibility for assessing those coalmining proposals lies with state governments. It is the responsibility—
That is a fact. It is a responsibility of the relevant regulatory authorities to ensure that there are not any impacts on the environment, including impacts on things like groundwater, that are unacceptable.