Monday, 1 October 2012


Several months ago a Clarence Valley woman wrote to Andrew Stoner, Deputy Premier of NSW, about her concerns about coal seam gas mining. (See the CVCC blog post on this letter.)   The Government's recent announcement of its Strategic Land Use Policy, which has given the green light to the CSG industry in NSW, has encouraged her to write to Chris Hartcher, Minister for Resources and Energy, expressing her outrage.  

I am totally horrified by the NSW State Government’s decisions regarding the Coal Seam Gas Industry in NSW, which have come to light over the past few days. I will put my response to you in point form.  This way you may be able to understand it!

1. The decision to renew Metgasco’s PEL 13 & 16, and issue a production licence fly in the face of your government, which claims they haven’t issued any exploration licence since coming to power, when they clearly intended to continue “business as usual”.

2. The ban on fracking has been lifted. This is an outrage. History has shown, and is still showing the negative and dangerous outcomes from this process.

3. The decision to allow Metgasco to go ahead with its operations ignores Metgasco’s previous breaches and unlawful activities (dumping wastewater into Casino sewage treatment plant, and leaking evaporation ponds). This company clearly cannot be trusted to conduct safe practices in this industry.

4. The decision ignores the democratic voice of the people of NSW. The Lismore poll showed  87% opposition to CSG in the northern rivers community, which is echoed across all northern rivers Local Government areas, and the recent Fullerton Cove blockade. Not to mention past opposition events; 6,000 plus at the Save Our Land and Water Rally, Sydney, and 10,000 plus at the Lismore Rock the Gate Rally.

5. The policies leave our proposed strategic agricultural land unmapped. The policies are not legislation, so therefore are not mandatory.

6. Our landscape, farmlands, roads and towns will become industrialised mining areas bringing all the negative impacts that come with it – high prices, pollution, social division, and serious health impacts. You, as a matter of urgency need to speak to people from CSG affected areas about the facts, which your Government and the Queensland Government are choosing to ignore.  This is nothing short of scandalous.

7. And don’t bother sprouting the lies and pure bullshit about NSW running out of gas. We all know that Australia has massive reserves of untapped Natural Gas in Bass Strait. We do not need to go down the dirty filthy CSG road and turn our country side into an industrialised wasteland.

8. Where is the Government’s concern for our future food security and clean water?

So, how about I give you some stats and facts, Mr Hartcher, as the government obviously does not care enough about the wellbeing of its constituents to find out for themselves. Or do you already know the nasty truth, and just consider us collateral damage to the money grabbing scheme supporting a few mining companies?

Take note of the following points, because this is reality in CSG Mining affected areas, where locals are living the ‘Gasfield Dream’:
  • Farmers are losing control of their farmland and are very unhappy; suicide rates are at an all- time high.
  • Properties in and around gas fields cannot be sold.
  • Property values have plummeted to a point where Real Estate Companies are going belly up.
  • Families, including children, are becoming ill from escaping gases, venting compressor stations and polluted water.
  • Well integrity cannot be guaranteed, indeed 6% of wells leak at time of installation and in an ascending scale wells leak as they get older with no guarantee of integrity “for ever” which of course is the necessity. This information is available in Queensland Government reports.
  • One CSG mining area in Queensland has an increase of 600% in road deaths due to the increase in vehicle movements with the industry. This figure is available in reports if you take the time to look.
  • Moranbah in Queensland has an 800% increase in rape (rape capital of Australia – wow, fancy having that title!), this certainly changes the social fabric of the community – this information is also available in reports.
  • They say in NSW well plugging only lasts 20 years.  This is not good enough.
  • Rents escalate to a point where the residents not working in the mining industry have to leave town. This is happening in Queensland;
  • Gas companies are admitting environmental damage, as has happened in the Pilliga and Casino in NSW.
  • There is still no known safe way to dispose of the millions of litres of waste water.

These are only a FEW of the damaging effects of this insidious industry on a community. Why does the government assume that we want our communities impacted with these issues and many more. This is a short term industry with very little gain. The north coast and northern rivers of NSW is a tourist haven with many World Heritage National Parks, not to mention the agriculture and a pristine environment. We do not want to live in gas fields and have our land, water and children poisoned!!!!!

How can your Government allow such raping and pillaging of our beautiful natural resources against the will of the people.  It is nothing less than an act of Fascist Bullying.

The current New South Wales Government will go down in history as the government that ruined our land and water resources for the generations to come! Shame, shame, shame on the New South Wales Government!