Land council move sparks coal-seam gas fears

Posted March 12, 2012 15:19:39

The region’s anti-coal seam gas activists fear Aboriginal mining interests could extend to coal seam gas.

The state’s Aboriginal Land Council has applied for three petroleum exploration licences at Murwillumbah, Grafton and Broken Hill.

Speaking with ABC news last week, the council’s chief executive said there was no intention to enter the coal-seam gas industry.

But the regional coordinator for the Lock the Gate Alliance, Boudicca Cerese, says a petroleum licence includes the ability to explore for coal seam gas.

“The current coal-seam gas activities in the region are being done under petroleum exploration licences and so is exploration for other forms of unconventional gas… so I guess it would just be a matter of clarifying which resources are actually available,” she said.

“Regardless of who the operator is, Lock the Gate Alliance is opposed to the expansion of coal-seam gas industry in the Northern Rivers.

But we fully recognise that under the current laws, the state land council has as much right as anyone to pursue what they see as an economic opportunity,” Ms Cerese said.

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Tighter controls for mining and coal seam gas drilling – Ben Cubby, Environment Editor

Courtesy of Sydney Morning Herald
March 6,2012
New controls ... a scientific panel will assess mining development applications.
New controls … a scientific panel will assess mining development applications.Photo: Jim Rice

Mining and coal seam gas drilling across farmland, wineries and horse studs will face tighter controls under a series of plans unveiled by the NSW government today.

Developments must now pass through a “gateway” process, under which an independent scientific panel will assess the impact of a project before a company can lodge its development application.

The plan includes detailed maps of productive agricultural land in the Hunter Valley and the New England tablelands. Mining proposals in these areas will trigger examination by the scientific panel.

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The plan also includes an “aquifer interference policy”, which will govern water extraction from farming areas, and require independent scientific scrutiny.

The composition of the scientific panel is yet to be announced.

The policy covers areas within two kilometres of prime farmland.

No area of the state is out of bounds for mining, though the gateway process is likely to make gaining approvals for some mines more difficult.

The existing moratorium on hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, during coal seam gas drilling, will continue until April, when the government receives a scientific report on the impacts of the practice.

A draft code of practice for coal seam gas drilling was also released today. It requires companies to reimburse landholders for any legal costs arising from disputes over land access.

Most elements of the draft code of practice are already standard for coal seam gas companies.

The draft policy was released at midday today by a trio of government ministers – Regional Infrastructure Minister Andrew Stoner, Planning Minister Brad Hazzard and Resources Minister Chris Hartcher.

The policy, based on a key election pledge made by the state government, is the result of negotiations between farmers, the mining and coal seam gas industries and environment groups.

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Photos from World Environment Day

The people of the Tweed have their say on world environment day.

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Haight-Ashbury Concert photos taken at Stokers Siding July 10

This gallery contains 10 photos.

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The Mankind Project

Hi Everyone,

In March this year I was introduced to the Mankind project by a friend of mine.  I am so glad that I went on this journey as it has truly awakened me into knowing more about myself and living my truth as a man in this world.  This is an ongoing journey but a fully supported one.  I feel blessed to have been exposed to this great work.

I would encourage you to attend if it is possible.


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Is coal seam gas worth the risk?–gas-worth–the-risk-20110819-1j20j.html

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Response to Coal Seam Gas in our area from MP Steve Cansdell.

Hi Everyone,

It seems that there needs to be a lot more fact based evidence shown to our MP in the Clarence.  He was clearly not convinced by the GAS LAND movie.  Perhaps someone in the area would like to show him some of the other footage of what is happening in Queensland.

I am somewhat disappointed by his response. What do you think?


Date: Fri, 29 Apr 2011 14:55:57 +1000
Subject: Re: gas in the Clarence

Dear Michael


Thank you for your email indicating your concerns regarding coal seam gas mining in all regions of Australia.


I support coal seam gas exploration being undertaken in our area.  I think the industry can deliver a lot of benefits to our community in terms of employment and economic opportunities. At the same time it is important for the industry to operate in an environmentally responsible manner and to respect the interests of landowners.  As you may know we released a Strategic Land Use Policy before the election which aims to strike a balance between the interests of the different groups.  A copy of the policy is attached for your interest.


Exploration licenses have been held on the Mid North Coast for decades and extensive gas exploration has been undertaken in that time with little concern from the community. Community issues seem to have only come up since the movie Gaslands has been shown in the area.  You should be aware that this movie is about the Shale Gas industry in the US and has little relevance to Australian gas industry practice. The movie is not a realistic portrayal of the gas industry in Australia as both the operational activities and regulatory environments are quite different.  I have attached an information factsheet about the Gaslands movie that addresses some of the inaccuracies.


The coal seam gas industry is regulated by the Department of Industry and Investment in the exploration stage of operations when notices are placed in local papers notifying the intention to grant an exploration licence.  Prior to any development being undertaken an environmental assessment is undertaken and must be approved by the Department of Planning, who co-ordinates the input from all relevant NSW Government agencies, including environmental agencies.  At this stage there is an extensive community consultation process.    Government agencies review an extensive list of environmental factors and specifically address any impact on underground aquifers and existing or future land uses.  An example of these studies can be found at:


The coal seam gas industry is regulated by NSW State regulation.   The National Industrial Chemicals Notifications and Assessment Scheme (NICNAS) is a Commonwealth authority and therefore is not a relevant agency for the purposes of regulating the industry.  Several independent studies have examined the potential for water contamination due to hydraulic fracturing practices and found that the practice does not pose a threat to underground sources of drinking water.  You can download the study at:


Coal seam gas currently supplies over 90% of Queensland’s gas supply and is likely to become an increasingly important source of energy in NSW as well.  I do believe that the industry can be developed in an environmentally acceptable manner. 
Steve Cansdell, MP
Member for Clarence

>>> mike mizzi> 25/04/2011 3:25 pm >>>
Dear Mayor Williamson, 

recent media reports and the concerns of environmentalists and farmers have brought the attention of the public to the process of gas ‘fracking”. I am not sure if you are familiar with this process but a simple Google search will show the environmental dangers associated with this process of gas extraction. Seeing that the Clarence-Moreton basin is the proposed sight for exploration of gas fields and no doubt subsequent mining activity what safeguards is the Clarence Valley Council assuring the public they will impose on mining activities in the Clarence? Is council willing to place a moratorium on further activity by gas companies in the Clarence as has the Kyogle council recently? You might want to watch this trailer and if possible check oiut the documentary to see what effect this process of gas extraction is having on communities throughout the USA and the possible consequences for communities in the Clarence if allowed to proceed here. i look forward to your reply regarding this as there is great anxiety of our valley being turned into another industrial wasteland.
Yours sincerely
Michael Mizzi

Nefanews mailing list

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