Parties urged to issue mining moratorium

DOCTORS for the Environment wants Tasmania's political parties to address concerns around climate change and mining in the lead-up to the election.

The non-government organisation yesterday released its issues paper for the state election, calling for a moratorium on unconventional and coal seam gas exploration and mining, a moratorium on the expansion of the coal industry, and further action on climate change.

Tasmanian spokesman Rohan Church said the organisation's concerns about unconventional and coal seam gas were based on a lack of evidence that chemical additives used during drilling and hydraulic fracturing were safe.

Dr Church said the DEA was concerned that South Australian company Petratherm was recently granted an exploration licence in Southern Tasmania.

He said the approval of a new coal mine at Fingal and proposal for a large coal mine in the Derwent Valley had prompted the DEA to call for an indefinite moratorium on the expansion of coal mining in Tasmania.

``I think our challenge is to explain to the communities involved that there are serious cardiovascular, respiratory diseases that can be provoked by coal mining,'' Dr Church said.

He said both political parties had strong climate change policies, but the DEA did not want to see anything wound back to cut costs.

Energy and Resources Minister Bryan Green said coal seam gas was not an issue for Tasmania as there were no identified reserves.

Mr Green said he did not support a moratorium on the expansion of coal mining as it was an important to local industry.

Opposition mining spokesman Adam Brooks said a Liberal government would introduce a 12-month moratorium on fracking while they undertook a study ``to fully understand its suitability in Tasmania''.

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