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Key independent Tony Windsor says he will only support the Government’s mining tax if there are tougher rules for coal seam gas projects on farmland.
Windsor put his demands to Treasury officials yesterday with the backing of fellow independent Rob Oakeshott.
“I have given them an ultimatum that I won’t support the MRRT without greater restrictions on coal seam gas and assessment of farmland,” the Financial Review reported.
The Government needs the support of the independents to pass the bill, which is expected to be introduced to parliament over the next few days.
Windsor’s key demand is for $200 million to $400 million of the MRRT’s takings to be spent each year on CSG assessments.
The reviews will scientifically determine the impact of CSG on the environment, farmland, and water supplies.
The Greens, also critical for the safe passage of the tax, have declared their support for the bill but are still pushing to make it a closer fit to the original resource super profits tax.
The Government said it was continuing to discuss the tax with the Greens and independents but was sticking to its original budgeting.
The latest arguments over the tax follow comments last week by Treasurer Wayne Swan that the legislation’s technical issues had been resolved.
West Australian Liberal MP Mal Washer last week canvassed supporting the tax but later confirmed he would not cross the floor to vote with Labor.
Windsor’s latest ultimatum channels a rising backlash against the CSG industry.
Yesterday the latest Essential poll reported 50 per cent of people wanted restrictions on CSG, with Labor and Liberal/National voters holding similar views.
Those most in favour of restrictions were aged 55+ and respondents from Queensland and NSW.