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Australia’s mining and energy ministers have agreed to draw up a framework to govern the coal seam gas industry under a single set of national regulations.
The move follows a meeting between federal energy minister Martin Ferguson and his state and territory counterparts, and aims to improve public confidence in the industry.
The meeting said the regulation would be part of the work needed to address “genuine community concerns” over CSG and its impact on the environment.
The decision means over the next nine months all existing state and territory regulations will be collected, and a study conducted into CSG best practice.
In a statement Ferguson said CSG had an “important role to play in Australia’s energy mix” and harmonised regulation would ensure the industry expanded appropriately.
“Extensive work has been done to strengthen regulatory arrangements around coal seam gas developments and today’s agreement between the states and territories will build on these foundations.”
Australian Greens mining spokesperson Larissa Waters said while harmonised regulation was a good move it could not be used as an excuse for the government to “wash its hands” of proper regulation on the water impacts of CSG.
"The Greens would welcome consistency across the states in CSG regulation, but it would have to represent an increase in environmental standards," she told AAP.