Govts urged to conduct strict health checks for CSG proposals

GOVERNMENTS should reject any coal seam gas proposals that have not undergone stringent health risk assessments, the Australian Medical Association says.

The AMA Federal Council passed a resolution on Thursday calling on federal and state governments to adopt this approach for all CSG proposals.

It also wants existing CSG projects to be regularly monitored for any health impacts and the presence of air and groundwater pollutants.

AMA president Steve Hambleton said despite the industry's rapid expansion, research and regulation around the effects of CSG had failed to keep pace.

"There is a lack of information on the chemicals used and wastes produced, insufficient data on cumulative health impacts, and a lack of comprehensive environmental monitoring and health impact assessments," Dr Hambleton said.

"The assessment of the health impacts of CSG developments needs to strengthened and made consistent across all jurisdictions. The regulation of CSG varies between the states, with standards for health regulation ranging from a degree of consideration to apparent disregard."

Dr Hambleton said in cases where there was insufficient evidence to ensure safety, governments should err on the side of caution.

He said the AMA welcomed the current move by the Gillard government to strengthen environment protection laws relating to the impacts of CSG projects on water resources.

"But this must be supported with national standards and safeguards for health," he said.

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