Opposition environment spokesman Greg Hunt.
Opposition environment spokesman Greg Hunt. Cade Mooney

Coalition to ensure no unintended 'consequences' in CSG laws

THE Coalition fears the Federal Government's plans to tighten controls over coal seam gas operations may be unconstitutional.

Opposition environment spokesman Greg Hunt said the Coalition was yet to see the legislation and would wait until then before deciding whether to support it.

He said the Coalition would also determine whether the changes would stand up to a High Court challenge.

"The Coalition has concerns about whether the Gillard government's move is allowable under the constitution and will fully examine the legislation when it is available," Mr Hunt said.

"The Coalition recognises the community concerns regarding the impact of coal seam gas and coal mining on water resources.

"Not surprisingly, we are cautious of any pledge from this government and we need to ensure that there are no unintended consequences as a result of this legislation."

Mr Hunt said mining companies should only be permitted to operate where there is a "community licence" to do so.

But he claimed the industry had been "blind-sided" by Environment Minister Tony Burke's surprise announcement on Tuesday, comparing it to Kevin Rudd's approach to the mining tax in 2010.

"The best way to allow for the co-existence of mining, agriculture and communities is to work co-operatively with all stakeholders," he said.