Interim Independent Expert Scientific Committee on Coal Seam gas and Coal Mining

Committee advice on coal seam gas and coal mining

Coal trainThe Independent Expert Scientific Committee on Coal Seam Gas and Large Coal Mining Development (the Committee) provides expert scientific advice on the potential water-related impacts of coal seam gas or large coal mining proposals referred to it by Australian Government and state government regulators. This advice is provided to enable the regulatory decisions on coal seam gas and large coal mining developments to be informed by the best available science.

Seeking advice from the Committee

Process for obtaining Committee advice

  1. Regulator requests advice from the Committee on the water-related impacts of the development proposal
  2. The Committee considers the request and provides written advice to the regulator
  3. Regulator considers the Committee's advice in decision-making

1. Regulator requests advice from the Committee on the water-related impacts of the development proposal

The Australian Government regulator seeks the Committee's advice under the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 (Cth)

Under the National Partnership Agreement on Coal Seam and Large Coal Mining Development  Queensland, New South Wales, South Australia and Victoria have committed to:

  • seek the Committee's advice at appropriate stages of the approvals process for a coal seam gas or large coal mining development that is likely to have a significant impact on water resources
  • ensure that decision-makers take account of the Committee's advice in a transparent manner.

The signatory state governments have produced protocols that describe how they will seek the Committee's advice on coal seam gas and large coal mining development proposals that are likely to have a significant impact on water resources. The stage at which a request is made will impact on the type and amount of information available for the Committee's consideration. This will, in turn, determine the advice the Committee will be able to provide.

2. The Committee considers the request and provides written advice to the regulator

When a request for advice is submitted to the Committee, the Committee will consider the request, discuss its recommendations and provide written advice to the regulator for consideration in decision-making. The Committee considers each request at its regular face-to-face meetings. On some occasions, the Committee may finalise its advice out of session.

In accordance with the EPBC Act, the Committee is required to provide advice to the regulator within no more than two months of receiving a request.

The Committee's advice to regulators is scientific in nature. The Committee is not responsible for making decisions about whether or not to approve coal seam gas or large coal mining development proposals. This continues to be the role of the Australian Government and relevant state government regulators.

3. Regulator considers the Committee's advice in decision-making

Information about the regulator's decisions can be found at:

The Committee's Information Guidelines

The Committee's Information Guidelines outline the information requirements considered necessary by the Committee to enable the delivery of robust scientific advice to government regulators on the water related impacts of coal seam gas and large coal mining developments.

These Guidelines were revised in April 2014.

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