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March 9, 2021

Greens highlight CSG risk to water

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Threats to Tweed Shire’s water supply by coal-seam gas (CSG) exploration and mining are not being taken seriously enough by some local councillors, according to a state Greens MP.

Upper House member Jeremy Buckingham said moves in Council by Greens Cr Katie Milne to strengthen the shire’s ability to fight CSG mining had not been supported by most councillors, and voters in the upcoming election should take note who they were.

Mr Buckingham made the comments during a kayak paddle with Cr Milne up the Tweed River near Murwillumbah on Friday to highlight the potential danger posed by the boom industry to the water supply of the Tweed, which is currently covered by several petroleum exploration licences.

‘It was really important for Council to support Cr Milne’s motions. It wasn’t a fringe issue; those motions were powerful tools against coal-seam gas mining, and the community needs to take note of councillors that are wavering on this issue,’ he said.

Cr Milne said that in the past year she had introduced six motions in Council ‘to provide whatever protection possible’ against potential CSG mining in the Tweed, but only two were supported.

‘Crs Polglase and Youngblutt, both National Party members, are the ones who have most consistently voted against going the extra mile on CSG,’ she said.

‘In July 2011, I called for a report on CSG, which was supported.

‘In August the report was supported by councillors with a moratorium on CSG but councillors refused my call to further investigate what other councils have done on CSG.  For example, Moree Council implemented a seismic testing policy for CSG so that residents from a wider area had to at least be notified.

‘In March 2012, I asked for a Council report on the NSW Aboriginal Land Council’s application for a Special Prospecting Authority, now over all parts of Tweed, and meetings with the Aboriginal community.

‘Also in March 2012, I asked that Council create a webpage to inform the community about coal-seam gas issues, as Lismore and Moree councils had done. I again asked for Council to bring forward a report on the seismic survey policy of Moree Council.   No seconders.

‘In April 2012, I tried to get a CSG poll happening during the elections, like Lismore did. This was important to establish evidence of community sentiment and thus legal or ethical grounds for action. 5–2 against.

‘In June 2012 I moved for Council to meet anti-CSG community groups so we could hear from concerned residents about coal-seam gas. Again, no seconder.’

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