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Byron Shire
February 27, 2021

‘World of pain’ awaits CSG companies

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Chris Dobney

Coal seam gas activists will meet federal resources minister Ian Macfarlane today, less than 24 hours after a new survey reveals overwhelming opposition to the activity in its heartland of the Richmond Valley.

The survey, conducted by Southern Cross University, questioned 605 residents at polling booths in the electorate on the day of the federal election.

It found 65 per cent of respondents were opposed to CSG mining and 18 per cent were undecided, leaving just 17 per cent supporting the activity.

Researcher Hanabeth Luke said the poll used the same wording as the one conducted by Lismore City Council at the state election last year.

She added that a smaller sample conducted simultaneously in Lismore drew a similar result to the council poll, showing 85 per cent opposition.

A previous phone poll conducted by Richmond Valley Council claimed 70 per cent of respondents supported CSG, ‘if it could be scientifically proven to be safe and increase employment’, but its wording and methodology were considered unscientific.

Ms Luke said that the SCU researchers had been trained to obtain a genuine cross-section of responses and were instructed not to focus on any one age group or lifestyle.

She added that while support for CSG was generally stronger in urban polling booths, even this was not across the board.

‘There was a huge amount of variation across the booths. We had the strongest Yes vote at Casino West Public School but very close by at Casino High School the strongest No, with 80 per cent. So it’s varied enormously, even within Casino,’ she told ABC North Coast.

Exit strategy

In the wake of the poll results, anti-CSG group Lock the Gate (LTG) has called on Metgasco to ‘develop an exit strategy’ for its activity in the northern rivers.

LTG spokesperson Ian Gaillard described the new data as ‘a major blow to Metgasco’s plans to recommence its exploration activities in the northern rivers and the push by the federal industry minister to forge ahead with unconventional gas development in NSW’.

‘This region has shown that it does not want this unsafe and unnecessary industry and we have shown that people of all political persuasions are prepared to act to keep it out,’ he added.

‘The minister has convened a meeting seeking a way forward for the gas industry in the northern rivers and we would be more than happy to work together to find an exit strategy by which Metgasco can minimise its losses.’

Metgasco CEO Peter Henderson yesterday admitted to the East Coast Gas Outlook Conference that ‘improving community support’ was one of the greatest challenges facing the company.

Parliament to debate

Meanwhile, NSW state parliament is set to debate the subject of CSG on October 31 after a petition circulating the northern rivers garnered 12,000 signatures opposing the industry.

And federal Richmond MP Justine Elliot has called on local National Party MPs to speak out on the subject in parliament.

Ms Elliot, whose office collected the petition, said, ‘Geoff Provest, Don Page, Thomas George, and Chris Gulaptis have nowhere left to hide. They must stand up and speak in this debate.

‘The biggest threat to our way of life is the National Party’s pro-CSG, drilling, fracking and expansion agenda,’ she added.

‘Our community was forced to present this petition because the National Party MPs are refusing to listen to locals. My position is very clear. I stand with the community and oppose harmful CSG mining on the north coast.’

 


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8 COMMENTS

  1. Every time I see one of those large Metgasco ads in a local paper, and read their lies and their failure to acknowledge any of the frightening aspects of their work, like the 200 metres of steel which virtually exploded high into the air in a whoosh of flames from Kingfisher well right by Casino airport, causing workers to run for their lives, (and thank God there wasn’t a plane at the time), I feel more enraged. If they want to win over community support they would do better to recognise our intelligence.

  2. Well well well, no holes in the ground thanks. Now that George, Provest, Gulaptis and MacFarlane have been put on notice let’s see how far they are willing to push the community before retreating. What these pro CSG shills need to remember is that there are more of us than there are of them. And we will fight to protect our land and our lifestyles from the insidious infiltration of an industry which seeks to kill us. Everywhere frackers go they will meet with the same resistance until they exit, get out, frack off!

  3. ‘improving community support’ just isn’t going to happen, Mr Henderson. The longer you attempt to push this unwelcome and environmentally unsound industry on us, the greater the opposition to your endeavours.

    That CSG is not welcome in the Northern Rivers has been stated emphatically, by an overwhelming and ever-increasing number of residents and ratepayers.

    No means no!

  4. RE: “The survey, conducted by Southern Cross University, questioned 605 residents at polling booths in the electorate on the day of the federal election.
    It found 65 per cent of respondents were opposed to CSG mining and 18 per cent were undecided, leaving just 17 per cent supporting the activity.”

    More nonsense! What do you believe a SCU Survey of 605 voters or the actual poll on PAGE’s 90,000 plus voters?

    So what was the actual vote of 100% of the PAGE electorate the only Northern Rivers electorate with any gas potential ?

    The clear pro gas development stated policy positions of both Labor and Lib/Nats via Macfarlane and Fergeson and even Kevin Rudd in Casino said, ” this region will be cooking with gas” before the election received a resounding 93% plus of the PAGE vote.
    The Greens received a miserable 6% of the vote in PAGE, down 30% from the last election.
    They were the only party in PAGE with a definitive emphatic anti gas development policy position, ” we are the only party” they said.
    SURVEY OR POLL:
    It’s clear you can get any result you want from a survey depending on the bias of the questions.

    Lismore Council’s past survey was critized for and contained bias; which calls into question SCU’s current small survey’s bias.

    What is clear is you can’t fudge the mood of the full PAGE electorate, particularly when the result reflected the clearly stated party policy positions put to the electorate.

    The Ricketts and LTG’s Gillards of this world should recognize the mandate a full poll of the full electorate brings.

  5. Well we will wait with bated breath to see the outcome of the parliamentary discussions. I feel this is the time when we will truly see who our representatives REALLY support…

  6. CSG extraction has an unknown factor. The long term effect on the natural water table! A plausable way of culling the surpluse population! It’s an UNPROVEN energy source. WHY DID CHINA STOP AFTER ONLY TWENTY YEARS??? They found out the contmination effects! But the $ speaks louder than people. DISGUSTED MEMBER OF THE HUMAN RACE

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