Sunday 24 March 2013


Clarence Valley Council's resolution on coal seam gas (CSG) mining at the full Council meeting on 18th March was welcomed by community members concerned about the impacts of this industry.

The resolution called for Council to write to local state and federal MPs as well as the relevant state and federal ministers calling for a halt of CSG mining activity until certain conditions were met.  The first step in this process was completion of a number of expert studies currently under way.  The next was assessment of the studies to determine if the community could be assured that there would be no adverse effects on water catchments and human health.

This is the third Council resolution on CSG in recent years but it is the first such resolution since the election of a new Council last September.  The previous Council's resolutions had broader support from Councillors.

The three councillors who voted against the motion on Tuesday appear to be supporters of CSG mining, although they did not state this in the debate.  Reasons given by these councillors for their opposition to the motion were that council had no power in this matter, that writing such letters would not produce the desired result and that the council was ill-qualified to assess the industry's impact.

Certainly Council does not have the power to stop CSG mining in its area.  However, like any individual or group of individuals, it does have the power to lobby other levels of government in the interests of its community. If Clarence councillors had been unaware of community concern, the Glenugie blockade of Metgasco's test drill site in January and all the publicity which resulted from it, demonstrated clearly that there was widespread concern.

Most other Northern Rivers councils (other than Richmond River Council which is based in Casino) have seen fit to support their local communities in calling for a halt to CSG activities.

Council's letters are unlikely of themselves to halt CSG mining.  However, they will make a significant contribution to the groundswell of concern that is bombarding politicians who hope to have CSG mining go ahead.  The more these politicians hear about community concerns, the more likely are they to act on them.  So far we have seen evidence from both the State and Federal Governments that they are finally getting the message about how opposed to CSG mining many people are.

Of course Council is not qualified to assess CSG's impact – and it isn't trying to.  It wants the experts given time to do this. And it wants a halt on CSG activities until the experts have delivered their findings.

Councillors Kingsley, Howe and Hughes are to be commended for bringing this motion to Council and for their eloquent support of it during debate.
 Leonie Blain

Thursday 7 March 2013


Letter to Chris Gulaptis, State Member for Clarence

I am writing this letter to express my extreme disappointment in the present State Government's philosophy and actions in regard to our National Parks, Nature Reserves and State Conservation Areas.

Having been heavily involved in the battle to save the rainforests in the late 70s early 80s; being highly conscious of Australia's deplorable rate of extinctions of our fellow creatures; having been involved in the education of our children for 41 years and having taken groups of young people into our National Parks on Duke of Edinburgh Scheme bushwalks and being conscious of what a National Park really is .............  I am appalled that these protected areas are being opened up for recreational shooting and that logging is being considered.

I have been informed that the Forest Products Association is asking for over a million hectares of north-east NSW's National Parks, Nature Reserves and State Conservation Areas to be made available for logging.  It seems that they have identified over 100,000 hectares of specific reserves that they want revoked.

Our protected areas are a priceless asset for our fellow creatures.  They are a gift to the future, a stepping stone to preserving  all life on our planet.

For a government to consider allowing shooting and logging in these areas is an indication of its short-term, anthropocentric values which will ensure destruction of the invaluable concept of protection of natural ecosystems.

Our children's values will be influenced by the messages that these actions will generate, messages that will cry out loudly - "These areas are not really protected", or "We don't need to protect them".

What is your position on these issues?

If you oppose logging in National Parks are you prepared to publicly say so?

What do you think John Muir, the father of America's national parks, would think of these proposals?

    - Stan Mussared