Labor and the Government unite to avoid voting on Greens bill to ban coal and gas on the Liverpool Plains
In a cynical move to avoid having to vote on a Greens bill to ban coal and gas mining and exploration on the Liverpool Plains ahead of the Upper Hunter byelection, the Labor, Liberal and National parties have united to send the bill to inquiry says Cate Faehrmann, Greens MP and spokesperson for the environment.
On 22 April in an interview with 2GB the Deputy Premier John Barilaro stated that paying Shenhua $100 million to end the Watermark project was about “banning and ending any chance of mining on the Liverpool Plains.”
If passed, the Green’s Coal and Gas Legislation Amendment (Liverpool Plains Prohibition) Bill 2021 would ban all coal and gas mining and exploration in the Liverpool Plains, including the Vickery extension project outside of Boggabri.
On 5 May in question time the Deputy Premier confirmed that his commitment did not extend to the Vickery Coal Extension Project which sits within the Liverpool Plains catchment.
“If the Deputy Premier is committed to ensuring no more coal or gas on the Liverpool Plains the government would support this bill this week, including saying no to Whitehaven’s Vickery Extension project. Instead they’re intent on avoiding the one way in which their election commitment can be set in stone - a vote in the parliament,” said Ms Faehrmann.
“It’s disappointing that instead of holding the Deputy Premier and the National party to account, the Labor party has chosen to unite with the Government to avoid voting on a bill that would give certainty to the farmers, communities and Gomeroi people of the Liverpool Plains.
“If Labor and the Government were seriously committed to seeing no new coal or gas projects on the Liverpool Plains then they would be voting in support of this bill, not kicking it off to an Inquiry. The other parties can’t be trusted when it comes to stopping coal and gas and protecting land and water on the Liverpool Plains,” said Ms Faehrmann.