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May 9, 2021

CSG changes not enough, say activists

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The announcement by NSW premier Barry O’Farrell yesterday that coal-seam gas mining will now be forbidden within a two-kilometre radius of residential areas was welcomed by some, but CSG activists say it still fails to protect small communities, prime agricultural land and native forests.

North coast federal ALP MPs, a prominent Greens senator and activists have all hit out at the premier’s selective protection of the towns and cities at the expense of the countryside and rural residents.

‘The new restrictions do nothing to protect many communities currently under threat in the northern rivers, or elsewhere,’ said Lock the Tweed spokesperson Michael McNamara.

‘Our productive agricultural lands are still under threat. Our environmentally sensitive areas are still at risk to the threat of CSG operations. Our local villages are still very much under threat from CSG,’ he said.

ALP federal Page MP Janelle Saffin and Richmond MP Justine Elliot say the announcement ‘completely ignores the concerns of north coast local residents’.

Both continue to hit out against state Nationals MPs, Geoff Provest, Don Page, Thomas George and Chris Gulaptis, with Ms Elliot saying they are either ‘are unwilling or unable to represent locals’ over the issue.

Ms Saffin told ABC radio this morning she was calling on the Nationals MPs ‘to get an exclusion zone so we are CSG free here in the northern rivers’.

Mr McNamara echoed their sentiments, calling for the Nationals MPs to ‘stand up for their constituents and their local communities by putting pressure on the state government to extend these restrictions to productive agricultural land, environmentally sensitive areas and local villages that fail to meet the benchmark set by the new policy’.

He added that the new regulations ‘are so vague and undefined that they give no confidence to local communities like Tyalgum, Crystal Creek, Chillingham or Stokers Siding’.

But north coast minister and Ballina MP Don Page told ABC that the regulations ‘will exclude every local town and village’.

‘We are doing things that are designed to protect the community. At the same time we have to have energy,’ he said.

Water supply not secure

Mr McNamara said, however, that even people in larger towns could still be affected because the new regulations still allow energy companies to drill in water catchments.

‘While the new restrictions would prohibit drilling in Banora Point and Tweed Heads South they will not protect the water supply to those areas.

‘Dart Energy, the new owner of the exploration licence covering most of the south-west of the shire (PEL445), still has the capacity under current approvals to drill in the catchment of Clarrie Hall Dam, the main water supply for the Tweed.’

Mr Page said the new regulations would protect catchments and that he would meet with Ms Saffin next week about her concerns.

City vs bush

Australian Greens leader Senator Christine Milne said the new regulations were ‘too little too late’ and accused Premier O’Farrell of ‘using coal-seam gas as a political football to facilitate votes for Tony Abbott in western Sydney’.

He’s not concerned at all about agricultural land, water or the environment.

‘It’s completely unacceptable after giving the green light to coal-seam gas all over NSW, having pushed and promoted coal mining and coal expansion at Whitehaven and Boggabri and cheering on the massive Gloucester CSG field to pretend he now cares about the impacts of coal-seam gas.

‘It is too little, too late, for Barry O’Farrell.

‘Who would believe that there would be any rigour to environmental impacts of coal-seam gas permits given recent history.’

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  1. As children we all learned the story of the golden goose but our politicians seem to have forgotten it in favour of short term economic gains. And with CSG the golden goose is our planet – our land, our air and our water. There’s more than an economic imperative here – without these we cannot exist at all. Damage and pollute them and our existence is severely compromised. There is indisputable evidence from numerous sources that clearly shows the damage that CSG has caused in other places. Are our decision makers uninformed, unintelligent, corrupt or a combination? And are they listening to the many thousands of voices beseeching them to stop CSG or have the $$ signs deafened them?
    Yours sincerely, Jandra Faranda

  2. Does anyone else think that this looks remarkably as though that nice Mr. O’Farrell is punishing us for being so damned uppity to his dear friends at METGASCO and nice collegues Messrs Hazzard, Hartcher, George etc..

  3. Don Page et al don’t seem to get it that many people who voted for the Nat/Lib party to get them elected don’t want CSG mining and are strongly opposed to it.
    Don etc are only listening to their superiors in Sydney and not to their electorate. Don Page in my electorate talks nonsense about CSG mining and its effects. I bet next weeks beer money he hasn’t researched the science out of the USA and what CSG mining and fracking
    has done to the environment there. I challenge him to do so and come back still supporting this dreadful industry and his party line.
    Don and his Nat mates need to turn away from Sydney and talk with the people of their electorates honestly.

  4. Well said Jandra. The LNP lied at the State election and the change to the Queensland rules means that both States are open to the environmental destruction that CSG and coal mining are inflicting on our communities. We must sustain and then increase the pressure on the State and Federal Governments to protect our land, aquifers – the total environment.

  5. The arguments against CSG as a damaging extraction process are well made. But even if they were clean and cuddly, the fact is that the world is in crisis due to our dependence on hydrocarbons. Every additional kilo of Carbon is a crime against nature and our future. There seems very little discussion, as always, on the alternatives. We all live near the coast and wave power is effectively infinite (check out the erosion we will see this week alone). If even a tiny fraction of the money currently being spent on the new fighter for our Air force was spent on wave power we could say good bye to mid east wars and CSG and global warming. Government, most media, finance and industry are in cahoots in perpetuating the current stonewalling of the obvious remedy. The situation is very bleak, and we have well overshot the time when remedies could have been put in place to maintain a stable environment. But if we stand up and make vigorous representations to our various elected members and refuse to settle for half-baked compromises we may yet avoid the worst. Otherwise we face heart-break and misery in our declining years when we finally have to recognise we have have condemned our descendants to – at best – grim half-lives, in a grossly degraded environment, with acute poverty and authoritarian government allocating the diminishing means of survival – and at worst – to extinction.

  6. Haven’t any of you pesky protesters watched professor Lockeyer telling all us ignorant peasants that CSG is bloody good for us? It’s true. Darryn spoke to the mining companies & they told him this undeniable fact and he told us on TV.
    Soon we we will be hearing from other great scientific minds like Paris Hilton, Stan Pekavitch and the Obeid family that CSG is so harmless, babies can sniff it.
    It certainly is a BRAVE NEW WORLD, so get with it you morons


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