Caution on CSG ‘tour'
AS REPORTS emerged last week councillors from Richmond Valley Council may tour coal seam gas fields in Queensland to obtain "first hand knowledge" of the industry, The Daily Examiner asked Clarence Valley councillors their thoughts on such an excursion.
Mayor Richie Williamson
"Firstly; I am unaware of any such invite to Clarence Valley Council. Secondly, I see little benefit on such an exercise; I would question value for money considering that the matter of approval is solely a State Government responsibility. Adding to that, there are a number of regulation differences in NSW to the operating Queensland models. My position remains the same; until the science around water issues and aquifers are resolved and matters of land use are resolved I remain concerned. Regulation of the industry will deliver certainly for both the industry and community. "
Cr Andrew Baker
"The CSG approval process is entirely a State Government responsibility. On that basis alone I regret I will have to resist the strong urge to go swinging through the Queensland gas fields with a bunch of councillors. Additionally, the bus trip sounds to me very much like an excuse for a junket at ratepayers' expense. Particularly as any facts that might be found in such a superficial way should already be widely available to the experts and regulatory bodies that spend months in the approval processes required for CSG exploration and extraction activity. I don't yet have a position strongly for or against. I will keep an open mind until such time as I need to take a position. "
Cr Sue Hughes
"As stated before I will always vigorously oppose any CSG activities in the Clarence Valley. If I had time I would go on a fact-finding tour, though depending on who was hosting this tour and not by a mining company."
Cr Margaret McKenna
"With ever-changing developments in legislation and processes, now may not be the time to expend resources on such a mission. If we knew of a major DA coming to council it may be appropriate. From the information I have at the moment I do not support CSG mining in our valley."