The organisation campaigning for a CSG-free Mullumbimby has claimed the Aboriginal Land Council’s (ALC) application for a special petroleum (CSG) prospecting permit has been conducted in a manner that is ‘unfair, shonky and probably illegal’.
Deborah Lily of Mullumbimby Community Action Network said ‘the ALC’s method of advertising their recent application to prospect for coal-seam gas in Byron Shire was appalling’.
‘We were blindsided,’ she told Echonetdaily.
The Department of Resources Public Comment Process document on Making a Submission (p3) states: ‘After lodging an exploration licence application the applicant is required to publish a notification in a major metropolitan newspaper, circulating state-wide and at least one regional newspaper, circulating in the locality of the proposed exploration area’.
‘The ALC informed me their notifications appeared in The Tweed Daily News (now out of print), The Land and The Tracker,’ said Ms Lilly.
‘None of those are a major metropolitan newspaper circulating statewide; I’ve recently discovered The Land is in fact available at the Mullum newsagents on Thursdays but I thought it had died when they stopped delivering it years ago,’ she said.
‘The newsagents had never heard of The Tracker, and neither had I. If we hadn’t been informed by Lock the Gate – Tweed, we would never have known about this very important CSG application.’
At a packed meeting at the Lismore City Hall on Wednesday, planning minister Brad Hazzard faced an uproarious crowd, livid about the CSG mining in the northern rivers. He was asked by local consultant Tricia Shantz for a copy of the ALC application:
‘How can we make submissions about an application when we haven’t even seen it?’ she asked.
She further requested a new submission period and Mr Hazzard agreed to consider these requests.
Ms Lily said she had followed up with letters to minister Hazzard and minister for the north coast Don Page.
‘I want Don Page to become involved and speak up for us. We are his constituents who pay his wages,’ she said.