Response to David Littleproud
REGARDING Minister’s response in last week’s Chinchilla News (18/10/18) Cameby Concerned Citizens Group would make the following comments:
Had Federal Agricultural and Water Resources Minister David Littleproud bothered to research the EPBC Act, he would realise that:
1. Section 528 of the EPBC Act defined Coal Seam Gas (CSG) development as “any activity involving CSG extraction that has, or is likely to have, a significant impact on water resources (involving any impacts of associated salt production and/or salinity)...”. Therefore, the act was clearly designed to cover ‘any impacts’ of salt production associated with CSG, and we believe this is why the We Kando salt dump should be caught by the water trigger in the Act.
2. The government does not have to leave it to a company to decide whether they refer an activity to the EPBC Act. The Federal Environment Minister has power under Section 70 of the EPBC Act to request a company to refer a development to them. That is an important power and one CCCG is asking the federal government to exercise.
Recently David Littleproud compared the strawberry saboteurs to terrorists and accused them of being parasites. “They should swing for this!”, he said in a recent interview on Radio National. He went on to talk about Australian food defence capability.
“We have to learn from this,” he said, “the standard we walk past is the standard we accept”. David Littleproud concluded his interview regarding the biosecurity crisis in the strawberry industry by saying that he would “make decisions based on science not emotion” – the same advice he gave to CCCG last year in relation to the CSG toxic salt dump.
Sadly the minister’s bravado quickly melts away outside of the media spotlight. CCCG have presented David Littleproud with:
■ Concerns over the deeply flawed approvals process for the toxic CSG dump;
■ Compelling scientifically based evidence in relations to human health and biosecurity issues surrounding the facility;
■ Evidence that the federal EPBC Act contains the necessary trigger for federal intervention.
We remind the minister that the Federal Government signed off on various environmental impact studies concerning the establishment of the CSG industry; toxic salt issues were swept aside in a process of business first, environment second. The storage of toxic salt has now inevitably become an issue.
If David Littleproud disputes any of this information, we would welcome the opportunity to discuss these issues with him in more detail.
The outcome we seek is that this CSG toxic dump be relocated away from the Condamine catchment and away from Priority Agricultural Land. Let the CSG industry deal responsibly with it’s own waste. CCCG is again asking our Federal Member, the Minister for Agriculture and Water Resources, to be our advocate at a federal level and to diligently pursue what we believe should be every Australia’s inalienable right – the right to clean air, clean water, clean soil and clean food.
We hope the Minister shares our conviction.
— David McCabe CCCG Chairperson