It is up to schools to decide how to treat controversial subjects such as coal seam gas (CSG) mining, according to the state education department.
The comment from the state government followed revelations yesterday that CSG miner Metgasco had written to local schools offering them presentations by their senior staff and copies of a DVD on CSG mining.
Anti-CSG activist and Southern Cross University lecturer Aidan Ricketts said it was inappropriate and plain wrong for Metgasco to target schools as part of its vested-interest propaganda campaign.
While declining to comment on the specifics of the case, a department spokesperson told Echonetdaily, ‘the discussion of any particular controversial issue in a school, and which resources are used, are decisions made at the school level’.
‘The decisions would be based on factors referred to in the policy, including that the issue must be relevant to the students’ area of study, age-appropriate, and presented in a balanced way, including the fair presentation of the different sides of an argument,’ he said.
He added, however, that, ‘in terms of coal seam gas, this might include combining discussion of the science, economics and nature of the industry with discussion of geology, environmental issues, water quality, current and future traditional and renewable energy, government policy, and different land uses and their benefits and effects’.
The department has not commented on which of its schools has been approached by Metgasco.
Metgasco CEO was approached for comment but failed to return Echonetdaily’s calls by deadline.