Australia will now have more comprehensive protection of its water resources when companies are exploring and extracting gas using fracking. This follows the federal government’s adoption of an expanded “water trigger” that I had been advocating for.
The Albanese Government adopted the thrust of my bill and included it in environmental legislation passed by parliament in December 2023.
Action to close this gap in legislation was recommended by a Senate committee but there had been no movement from the government until I moved my private members bill in October 2023.
The new laws strengthen the water trigger in the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act (EPBC Act) to ensure all unconventional gas fracking projects are assessed by the Federal Environment Minister for their impact on local water resources. It means that future projects in areas like the massive proposed Beetaloo basin development in the Northern Territory will now have to undertake studies of the likely impact on aquifers and rivers and get federal approval before proceeding.
Previously only coal seam gas projects were required to be assessed and approved under Australia’s national environment laws.
To see the press release on the Bill. Click here.