The legislation which would allow for more rigorous scientific assessment of CSG and large coal mining proposals passed the House of Representatives on Tuesday.
Federal Environmental Minister Tony Burke said the committee would rigorously assess how proposals would affect underground water resources and rivers.
“I know that there is significant community concern about the impact of coal seam gas and coal mining developments on our water resources,” he said.
“That’s why the … government has acted to create the Independent Expert Scientific Committee on coal seam gas and large coal mining development.”
An interim committee was set up in January pending formal establishment. Once established, the committee will provide scientific advice on CSG and coal mining projects and oversee research on the effects on water resources.
“When requested, the committee will provide further evidence to inform regulatory decisions made by governments,” Burke said.
“It will provide advice on options for increasing the quality and accessibility of knowledge available on the impacts to water resources from coal seam gas and large coal mining developments, for example, in the collection of data.”
The committee’s work will be supported by a national partnership agreement with relevant state and territory governments. So far, Queensland, New South Wales and South Australia have signed the agreement while negotiations with Victoria and the Northern Territory are continuing.
The legislation will now be introduced into the Senate.