The majority voted in favour of government amendments, which means they passed. Their purpose was the expand the water trigger.

What do these amendments do?

According to the relevant explanatory memorandum:

The EPBC Act prohibits a constitutional corporation, the Commonwealth, or a Commonwealth agency from taking an action if the action involves coal seam gas development or large coal mining development and the action has, will have, or is likely to have a significant impact on a water resource (sections 24D and 24E). This is known as the water trigger. The EPBC Act also prohibits a person from taking an action in a Commonwealth area or a Territory, or for the purpose of constitutional trade or commerce if the action involves coal seam gas development or large coal mining development and the action has, will have, or is likely to have a significant impact on a water resource.

The proposed amendments to the Bill would amend the EPBC Act to:

  • expand the scope of the water trigger to apply to all forms of unconventional gas development (rather than coal seam gas development) including activities involving unconventional gas (unconventional gas production) (by drilling, hydraulic fracturing, or other means), including from coal seams, shale rock, tight reservoirs, and any other sources prescribed by regulation. The water trigger will continue to apply to large coal mining development.

  • expand the scope of the Independent Expert Scientific Committee to provide advice on EPBC Act approvals involving unconventional gas developments, in addition to coal seam gas and large coal mining developments.

  • amend the name of the Independent Expert Scientific Committee on Coal Seam Gas and Large Coal Mining Development (IESC) to reflect the broadened remit (to Independent Expert Scientific Committee on Unconventional Gas Development and Large Coal Mining Development).

  • define what is meant by an unconventional gas development and unconventional gas production and allow for further sources to be added in regulations if there are emerging technologies that may need to be captured in future.

  • provide clarity in relation to the application of the expanded water trigger giving proponents greater certainty through explicitly excluding projects that are:

  • currently in production as approved under a Commonwealth, state or territory law or is a development that has permanently ceased extraction or production or where post-production has permanently ceased,

  • have an existing approval under Part 9 of the EPBC Act or notice of a proposed approval decision, or

  • have previously been determined to not need an approval under the EPBC Act (i.e. the action is not a controlled action, not a controlled action particular manner)

  • provide that relevant projects currently undergoing EPBC Act assessment (i.e. have been determined to be controlled actions under the EPBC Act but have not yet been approved) will need to be assessed for impacts on water resources.

Votes Passed by a small majority

Nobody rebelled against their party.

Party Votes
Australian Greens (64% turnout) 7 Yes 0 No
Penny Allman-Payne Queensland Yes
Sarah Hanson-Young SA Yes
Nick McKim Tasmania Yes
Barbara Pocock SA Yes
David Shoebridge NSW Yes
Larissa Waters Queensland Yes
Peter Whish-Wilson Tasmania Yes
Dorinda Cox WA Absent
Mehreen Faruqi NSW Absent
Janet Rice Victoria Absent
Jordon Steele-John WA Absent
Australian Labor Party (68% turnout) 17 Yes 0 No
Tim Ayres NSW Yes
Catryna Bilyk Tasmania Yes
Anthony Chisholm Queensland Yes
Nita Green Queensland Yes
Karen Grogan SA Yes
Jenny McAllister NSW Yes
Malarndirri McCarthy NT Yes
Fatima Payman WA Yes
Helen Polley Tasmania Yes
Louise Pratt WA Yes
Tony Sheldon NSW Yes
Marielle Smith SA Yes
Glenn Sterle WA Yes
Jana Stewart Victoria Yes
Anne Urquhart Tasmania Yes
Jess Walsh Victoria Yes
Murray Watt Queensland Yes
Carol Brown Tasmania Absent
Raff Ciccone Victoria Absent
Patrick Dodson WA Absent
Don Farrell SA Absent
Katy Gallagher ACT Absent
Deborah O'Neill NSW Absent
Linda White Victoria Absent
Penny Wong SA Absent
Jacinta Nampijinpa Price NT Country Liberal Party No
Andrew McLachlan SA Deputy President Absent
David Pocock ACT Independent Yes
Lidia Thorpe Victoria Independent Yes
David Van Victoria Independent Absent
Jacqui Lambie Network (100% turnout) 2 Yes 0 No
Jacqui Lambie Tasmania Yes
Tammy Tyrrell Tasmania Yes
Liberal National Party (100% turnout) 0 Yes 2 No
Matthew Canavan Queensland No
James McGrath Queensland No
Liberal Party (61% turnout) 0 Yes 14 No
Alex Antic SA No
Wendy Askew Tasmania No
Jonathon Duniam Tasmania No
David Fawcett SA No
Sarah Henderson Victoria No
Jane Hume Victoria No
Maria Kovacic NSW No
Kerrynne Liddle SA No
Matt O'Sullivan WA No
Gerard Rennick Queensland No
Linda Reynolds WA No
Anne Ruston SA No
Dave Sharma NSW No
Dean Smith WA No
Simon Birmingham SA Absent
Andrew Bragg NSW Absent
Slade Brockman WA Absent
Michaelia Cash WA Absent
Claire Chandler Tasmania Absent
Richard Colbeck Tasmania Absent
Hollie Hughes NSW Absent
James Paterson Victoria Absent
Paul Scarr Queensland Absent
National Party (100% turnout) 0 Yes 4 No
Ross Cadell NSW No
Perin Davey NSW No
Susan McDonald Queensland No
Bridget McKenzie Victoria No
Pauline Hanson's One Nation Party (50% turnout) 0 Yes 1 No
Malcolm Roberts Queensland No
Pauline Hanson Queensland Absent
Sue Lines WA President Yes
Ralph Babet Victoria United Australia Party No
Totals (68% turnout) 29 Yes – 23 No