Tweed Coast communities are embracing the CSG-free campaign despite the long-held belief that coast areas remain free of coal-seam gas mining, according to a local campaigner.
Further meetings will be held at Kingscliff and Pottsville this week.
‘Coastal communities have, for a long time, believed they were not affected by the coal-seam gas industry and this belief still holds sway in many quarters,’ said Michael McNamara from Lock the Gate – Tweed. ‘This is definitely not true.’
‘Coastal and other urban communities will feel the impacts in terms of water supply and water quality, potential health impacts and dropping land values’ he continued.
‘Clarrie Hall Dam, the main water supply for the Tweed, is within the boundaries of an exploration licence for coal-seam gas.
‘Arrow Energy, which holds the licence (PEL 445), could, if it so desired, drill in the catchment of Clarrie Hall Dam (just as AGL did near Warragamba Dam in Sydney), thereby placing the supply of clean drinking water to all Tweed communities at risk.’
Mr McNamara said a recent application for a special prospecting authority covering that part of the Tweed Shire not already covered should ring alarm bells in people’s minds.
‘If this prospecting authority is granted and commercial reserves of coal-seam gas or other unconventional gases are discovered then drilling is the next step.’
The Queensland government is currently undertaking investigations into reports from doctors in areas where CSG drilling operates about significant occurrences among residents of symptoms consistent with gas exposure.
‘We don’t want our children exposed to these risks,’ Mr McNamara said.
‘Concern about the documented impacts on areas of significant environmental value such as the Great Barrier Reef and the Pilliga State Forest, as well as potential impacts on the nearby World Heritage-listed Border Ranges also ranks highly with Tweed Coast residents.
‘Lock the Gate – Tweed has started holding these meetings on the Tweed Coast to ensure that local residents have the opportunity to be well informed about the risks and impacts associated with this industry.
‘Last week we held meetings at Cabarita Beach/Bogangar, Kingscliff and Pottsville,’ he said.
‘Those who attended left the meetings committed to let friends and neighbours know about the issues raised.
‘I encourage Tweed Coast residents to attend the follow-up meetings we have scheduled so they can learn the facts about the impact of the coal-seam gas industry on their communities.
‘Now is the best time to stop this activity, before it is in full swing. If we sit back and wait until they start drilling then it may be too late.’
Follow-up meetings will be held this week at Cudgen Leagues Club (Kingscliff) on Wednesday 11 July and Pottsville Community Hall on Thursday 12 July. Both meetings will start at 7pm.
‘It is easy for individuals to lose heart and believe that they can do nothing about this sort of issue but what we have found is that getting involved actually builds the sense of community.’
People interested in finding out more can contact Lock the Gate – Tweed on 6679 3013 or by email at [email protected].