The proposed environmental regulations may see the approvals process for coal seam gas projects duplicated across state and federal levels.
Greens Leader Christine Milne said the government needed to protect the agriculture industry, stating “food is the new oil”
Milne said Environment Minister Tony Burke was too late in addressing CSG at this late point, stating the Greens were calling for retrospective application of the proposed bill.
“It makes no sense to be [supporting] a fossil fuel industry at the end of the fossil fuel age,” she said.
“Let’s give farmers the right to say no.”
Senator Birmingham said blocking fossil fuel expansion would trample on the rights of the federation and states.
He called the Greens proposition a “blunt, crude amendment”.
The Nationals Whip in the Senate, John Williams, said the Greens needed to consider how the agricultural industry would be supported without energy.
“When you can tell me that a tractor can be powered with a single solar panel on a roof, I’ll be amazed,” he said.
He said he agreed with Milne in equating food to oil but pointed out the tractors run on diesel.
He also said we can make these industries cleaner with the use of natural gas, which is abundant in Australia, but will face cost increases if the shortage is not alleviated in the long-term.
“When people ask me why gas is so expensive, I’ll say ‘blame the Greens’
“We need energy, we need gas, we need food.”