O'Farrell wants own CSG rules: minister

Federal Environment Minister Tony Burke told Parliament that NSW sought different rules for coal seam gas projects from other states.

Mr Burke said under a national partnership agreement, signed by most states, the federal government had put up money for independent science to be locked into planning decisions.

He tabled in Parliament yesterday a letter from NSW Premier Barry O'Farrell saying the state wanted a different set of rules for some CSG projects.

"It is simply not good enough to have a situation where one state is wanting to make sure that the scientific checks are not done to them," Mr Burke told Parliament.

"For some reason, and you can all work out your own conclusions as to why, Barry O'Farrell does not want that information to inform planning decisions in NSW."

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In states such as Queensland there was an exclusion zone around settled areas to prevent serious loss of groundwater through CSG exploration and extraction, the minister said.

"In NSW, instead of it only being in areas well away from settled areas, there are proposals in not only New England, that has had a whole lot of publicity, but up in the far north coast of NSW, in the Hunter, in the Illawarra, in western Sydney - there are areas subject to this."

Mr Burke said when he dealt with proposals in Queensland, concerns were raised about ground subsidence near CSG projects after the extraction of groundwater.

If that occurred near a settled area it could cause various problems with ground dropping away under people's homes, schools and roads, he said.

Mr O'Farrell said he was surprised the federal government no longer believed NSW had the toughest CSG regulations in Australia.

The premier said the federal government had in December 2012 accepted what they agreed were the strictest CSG regulations in the nation.

The only thing that had changed since then was the announcement of a federal election, Mr O'Farrell said. 

AAP

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