Natural Resources: Forests and Mining

Manage resources taking into account intergenerational equity, biodiversity conservation and respect for traditional ownership.

Principles

The Australian Greens believe that:

  1. Australia's natural resources must be managed in accordance with the principles of intergenerational equity, the precautionary principle, biodiversity conservation and respect for the traditional ownership of First Nations peoples.
  2. With intergenerational equity in mind, resource extraction rates should be managed to ensure the greatest benefit to current and future generations.
  3. Resource extraction decisions must be guided by rigorous independent environmental and social impact assessment.
  4. Natural resource management should be informed by comprehensive natural resource mapping and strategic planning with a goal of protecting environmental values.
  5. Climate change must be a central consideration in the management of Australia’s natural resources, including forests and mining.
  6. Native forests have immense natural, cultural and economic values which must be protected. Logging seriously damages or destroys these values.
  7. Coal mining and unconventional gas — including coal seam gas, shale gas, tight gas and shale oil mining and underground coal gasification — pose unacceptable risks to Australia's land, water and industries, such as agriculture, grazing and tourism.
  8. Soil is a valuable natural resource and, as such, must be managed in a manner which maintains and replenishes soil fertility and health.
  9. Just transition assistance should be provided to communities and workers affected by job transitions towards sustainable industries.

Aims — Forests, Plantations and Wood Products

The Australian Greens want:

  1. Recognition of the essential role played by mature forest ecosystems in wildlife habitat, carbon storage, water supply, soil quality and retention, recreation and tourism.
  2. A sustainable and productive wood products industry from plantations and farm forestry that creates long-term skilled jobs and social sustainability in regional communities.
  3. The immediate protection of all old-growth and high conservation value forests.
  4. A prohibition on use of native forests for electricity generation.
  5. An end to the export of woodchips and whole logs from native forests.
  6. An end to tax arrangements which advantage plantations over other crops.
  7. World's best practice, certified, farm-scale plantation forestry.
  8. The tighter regulation of timber tree plantations, the wood production industry and their associated activities under planning and environmental law.
  9. Plantations with a diversity of species rather than monocultures.
  10. Plantations and farm forestry practices where the use of pesticides and fertilisers are minimised and controlled.
  11. Nomination of Australia's qualifying high conservation value forests for listing on the National or World Heritage registers.
  12. Abolition of the Regional Forest Agreements and equal treatment of forests, plantations and the wood production industry with other activities under environmental law.
  13. To complete the transition from native forest logging to plantations, including retraining and other assistance for workers, and the development of sustainable alternative fibre industries.
  14. An immediate end to broad-scale land clearing to protect biodiversity and to arrest soil loss, river degradation and salinity.
  15. The management of re-growth forest to an old growth state to maximise biodiversity, carbon uptake and water yield, and for recreation and tourism, which are more valuable outcomes than logging.
  16. The revegetation of land, including salt affected land, with biodiverse native vegetation which can provide carbon sinks, hydrological management and biodiversity restoration.

Aims — Mining and Mineral Exploration, including Coal Seam Gas

The Australian Greens want:

  1. A robust economy built on diverse sectors and not reliant on any one sector for its prosperity.
  2. A mining and mineral exploration sector that meets stringent environmental and social protection standards and delivers both long and short term benefits to the wider Australian community.
  3. A requirement that all mining activity be subject to rights, desires and needs of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.
  4. Legislation that recognises that mining is incompatible with all other land uses and therefore needs to be evaluated based on comprehensive natural resource mapping and strategic planning and rigorous independent environmental and social impact assessment, before being approved.
  5. Accurate and independent environmental, health and social impact assessments addressing the true environmental, social and economic costs and benefits, rigorously applied and implemented on all mining proposals and projects.
  6. Rigorous independent ongoing monitoring and compliance with undertakings and legal obligations of all mining projects including during the rehabilitation phase.
  7. The prohibition of mineral exploration and mining including the extraction of petroleum and gas, in residential areas, good quality agricultural land and terrestrial and marine nature conservation reserves, national parks, wilderness areas and other areas of high nature conservation value.
  8. A ban on new thermal coal mines or thermal coal mine expansions and an orderly, planned phase out of thermal coal exports with a just transition for affected communities. 
  9. No new fracking or unconventional gas, including coal seam, shale or tight gas, shale oil or underground coal gasification developments, given the short and long-term risks to our water, land, communities, the climate, food production and marine areas.
  10. The Australian Government to invest in and support the research and development of technological alternatives to metallurgical coal.
  11. The cessation of all existing underground coal gasification projects.
  12. A planned, orderly, phase-out of existing fracking and unconventional gas developments including coal seam gas, shale and tight gas due to the short and long-term risks to our water, land, communities, the climate, food production and marine areas. 
  13. To give landholders, including traditional owners, the right to say “no” to mining and resources companies seeking to explore or mine on their land and strengthen rights for landholders regarding access, negotiation, appeal and compensation rights in all their dealings with mining and resources companies.
  14. Mining rehabilitation bonds that are based on high-quality evidence, set at the full cost of rehabilitation and verified by open and transparent means.
  15. Prohibition on the exploration for, and mining and export of, uranium.

[Policy endorsed: May 2018]