With major reforms to Australia’s environmental laws set to come before the federal parliament next year, ACT Independent Senator David Pocock is this week going on a listening tour at the invitation of local communities to the Liverpool Plains and Darling Downs regions.
He will meet with and listen to concerns being raised by farmers and Traditional Owners over the impacts fossil fuel projects are having on prime agricultural land.
It is also an opportunity to discuss impacts from the roll out of renewable energy infrastructure, following commencement of the Community Engagement Review which is currently consulting with communities and is due to report later this year. The government commissioned this independent review by Australian Energy Infrastructure Commissioner Mr Andrew Dyer as a result of negotiations with Senator Pocock and Member for Indi Helen Haines MP.
Senator Pocock is participating in a Voice referendum information evening in Orange with Independent Member for Calare Andrew Gee MP tonight before travelling to Coonabarabran on Thursday 24 August for meetings with Gomeroi Traditional Owners and visits to sites around the Pilliga.
On Friday 25 August, Senator Pocock will travel to Maules Creek and Vickery coal mines, and hear from farmers on the Liverpool Plains about their concerns over proposed coal seam gas around their country.
On Saturday 26 August, Senator Pocock will travel to the Darling Downs, where he will meet with farmers who are also concerned about the impact of coal seam gas on their ability to produce the food and fibre on which Australians rely.
Senator Pocock said that the trip is a great opportunity to hear from those directly impacted by an expanding fossil fuel industry.
“We know that approving new and expanded fossil fuel projects is against the advice of climate scientists, the IPCC and the International Energy Agency,” Senator Pocock said.
“We often forget that climate change is not the only cost we suffer when new projects are approved. In the Liverpool Plains and the Darling Downs we are risking prime agricultural land.
“It makes no sense to sacrifice some of our most precious and productive land to a dying industry that will harm our climate and fail to provide sustainable economic development.
“Fossil fuels are a dying energy source. People will always need food and fibre to survive. We should prioritise what matters.”
Note to editors:
Media are invited to attend the following opportunities -
When: 11am Friday, August 25
Where: “Trenton” 596 Harparary Road, Harparary. Right hand side before the bridge about 5km down road.
What: Information sharing morning tea with Liverpool Plains and Namoi Valley farmers
When: 1.30pm Saturday, August 26
Where: Cecil Plains, 264 Watson Road, Nangwee
What: Protecting Prime Agricultural Land, A symposium on our back soil floodplain