RVC wants cash and a baseline as position on CSG announced
RICHMOND Valley Council seeks baseline data, royalties and higher standards from the coal seam gas industry and the State Government in its official position on CSG released yesterday.
The statement, approved at Tuesday's meeting, followed a two-day council visit to Darling Downs CSG fields last month.
The statement basically aligns the council with the stated positions of both industry and government with some fine tuning and some concessions.
"At the end of the day, we're not taking sides on this... what we're trying to do is take the middle ground," Richmond Valley mayor Ernie Bennett said. "We want the community to be well informed about the industry."
The council has called on the State Government to conduct adequate baseline air and water testing, establish a government inspector in Casino and a royalties program to return industry taxes to the community.
"We want a bite of the cherry too," Cr Bennett declared.
The State Government has recently announced 40 new positions for increased compliance and enforcement of the CSG industry; Cr Bennett said RVC wanted one based in Casino as soon as possible.
He said if baseline assessments were not done, as in Queensland, it would "leave doubts" as to what the quality of pre-CSG water and air actually was.
Cr Bennett said he was "reasonably confident" that the government would deliver on the council's requests.
From Metgasco, council requested that the company "urgently complete and publish their plans for water treatment and disposal", improve their professionalism across the board, and open and maintain a Casino CBD information centre.
"Our community deserve a right to ask questions and they need the access for that... it's all about being transparent and up front," Cr Bennett said.
The council's position would be reviewed after six months.