Senators debate bill's potential problems for agriculture

Senator Barnaby Joyce
Senator Barnaby Joyce Lyndon Keane

DEBATE about a bill to make water resources a trigger for national environmental assessments for coal seam gas and large coal projects was adjourned on Thursday until next month.

While the bill was listed for further debate on Thursday, it was delayed due to the government's migration bill being added to the Senate program.

Senator Barnaby Joyce began debating the merits and potential problems of the bill in the early afternoon, but was cut short by Senate Question Time.

Following question time, debate resumed, with Nationals Senator John Williams saying he was concerned about the wider implications the bill could have on agriculture.

He said the Nationals were the last to want to damage agriculture or the environment, saying the Coalition supported the bill.

However, he said both mining and agriculture had to coexist in regional areas, and while the nation's water resources were of utmost importance, the trigger was an added burden.

Greens Senator Larissa Waters, who has been vocal in support of the bill, said all parties had agreed to try and complete the debate on Thursday, but there was not enough time.

Debate is expected to resume when the parliament next sits in June.

Topics:  barnaby joyce bill coal project coal seam gas environment larissa waters

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