The majority voted against the following two Greens amendments moved by Senator Larissa Waters.
The first amendment removes the exception contained in section 505C(5)(a) of the bill that says "each member (other than the Chair) possesses appropriate scientific qualifications that the Minister considers relevant to the performance of the Committee’s functions". This amendment removes the words "(other than the Chair)".
The second amendment adds to the expertise that needs to be represented on the Committee created by this bill. Currently, there are four areas of scientific expertise that need to be included on the Committee:
- hydrogeology; and
The amendment adds public health, which Senator Waters said would address "the huge concern in the community about both coal seam gas and large coal mining and their impact on community health".(Read the rest of Senator Waters contribution here. )
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.)