Chief Scientist Water Resources Impacts Commission should be implemented

MEDIA RELEASE – 2 July 2014

The Greens NSW mining spokesperson Jeremy Buckingham called on the NSW Government to implement the recommendation of NSW Chief Scientist and Engineer, Mary O’Kane, that a NSW Water Resources Impacts Commission be set up to coordinate monitoring of and responses to the impacts of coal seam gas mining on water resources.

“The Greens have advocated for an independent Mining Commission to ensure that our farm land and water resources are protected from the potentially destructive impacts of coal seam gas and other mining,” said Greens MP Jeremy Buckingham.

Some of the key recommendations of the Chief Scientist’s report are:

  • That companies seeking to mine, or extract CSG should establish the baseline conditions before activities start and ensure appropriate monitoring to detect possible risks is implemented.
  • Data from these monitors should be deposited in a State Environment Data Repository and continuously interrogated by intelligent software looking for evidence of likely risks.
  • An expert committee should examine all data relevant to a region or a sedimentary basin on a frequent basis, using data from a range of sources.
  • The government should construct and maintain a variety of models of each region and in particular one that seeks to address cumulative impact along the lines of that constructed in Queensland. These models should feed into the planning and approvals process.
  • The government should commission formal characterisation of the groundwater of NSW.
  • All of this should be overseen by an independent statutory authority, such as a Commission.

“Almost a year since the Chief Scientist recommended the establishment of a State Environmental Data Repository, it is disappointing that she needs to remind the government that they have failed to heed her advice,” said Mr Buckingham.

“The recommendation for a ‘Water Resources Impacts Commission’ contrasts with the government’s recent decision to sack the NSW Water Commissioner and the Abbott government decision to abolish the National Water Commission,” he said.

Contact: Max Phillips – 9230 2202 or 0419 444 916


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