The majority voted against a Greens amendment introduced by Senator Larissa Waters.
The amendment calls for a moratorium on drilling through or into an aquifer in connection with coal seam gas mining. The moratorium would last for five years or less if the full research program of the Committee created by this bill takes less time. Senator Waters explained that this amendment ensures that "we wait and let this committee do its work before we issue any more approvals".(Read Senator Waters explanation of the amendment here. ) Senator Waters also emphasised that this restriction "does not apply to scientific research that is done to better understand the interaction of groundwater systems and coal seam gas mining".
Background to the bill
The bill establishes an Independent Expert Scientific Committee on Coal Seam Gas and Large Coal Mining Development ('the Committee')(Read more about the Committee here. ) to provide federal, state and territory governments with scientific advice on coal seam gas and large coal mining developments which may have significant impacts on water resources.(See here for explanatory memoranda and proposed amendments.)