Responses to a survey of candidates in the Tweed council elections have reflected a range of views on how to best combat the threat posed by coal-seam gas (CSG) to the local community.
Most candidates and teams surveyed indicated that they opposed CSG and that they would take at least some steps to combat the threat, according to Lock the Gate – Tweed spokesperson Michael McNamara.
Six teams and the three ungrouped candidates who responded achieved the maximum 34 points in the survey. Those teams were the Bagnall, Milne, Longland, Roberts, Holdom and Sharples teams. The individual candidates were Chris Cherry, Russell Killarney and Lindy Smith.
Two other teams (Polglase and Labor) received fewer points because of their qualifications on the support they had for proposed policies and actions.
Carolyn Byrne’s, Chris Henry’s and Bruce Campbell’s teams failed to respond, as did individual candidate Russell Logan.
‘Phil Youngblutt declined to participate but did indicate verbally that he had voted for, and continued to support, a moratorium on CSG in the Tweed,’ Mr McNamara said.
The Phil Youngblutt team received two points for the ongoing support for a moratorium.
‘Most teams and candidates have committed, if elected, to taking strong, positive action to protect the Tweed community against the threat of CSG,’ Mr McNamara said.
‘These responses demonstrate the strong opposition to CSG in the Tweed from across all political perspectives.
‘The responses indicate that most candidates are trying, to at least some degree, to reflect the strong community views expressed through the CSG-free Communities initiative.’
The group asked for commitments across eight policy areas and nine action areas.
The policy commitments sought included supporting a moratorium, an independent study into the effect of CSG operations, supporting health-impact assessments, support for ‘no go’ zones, consent role for local government, informing and consulting with the community, working with other councils and publicly advocating for state and federal governments to implement these policies.
The action commitments sought included: removing delegated authority from council officers for any CSG-related development, imposing development approval conditions to prohibit CSG operations, implementing a development control plan for seismic testing, supporting community activities against CSG, lobbying state and federal members and ministers, being proactive in regional council bodies, refusing access to council-owned or -controlled land and investigating other avenues to stop CSG activities.
The group then awarded points on the following scale:
2 – support for and commitment to implement the proposed policy/action
1 – qualified support for the proposal
0 – no reply or not supporting the proposal.’
The detailed answers from each candidate or team, including comments and qualifications, will be available on the Lock the Gate – Tweed website www.lockthegate-tweed.org.