AN open letter to George Souris regarding coal seam gas in the Hunter Valley:
It is obvious to anyone who can accept simple concepts that your government’s policies for the management of coal seam gas (CSG) have failed dismally.
Your Strategic Land Use Policy has failed to protect the Hunter Valley vineyards, or the tourism, agricultural or thoroughbred horse industries. You are allowing CSG drilling and fracking to take place right now in the heart of wine country and the associated tourist area. Marks out of 10? Zero.
Your draft NSW Aquifer Interference Policy is only a draft and is not enforceable. What should you be doing, George? I’ll tell you.
(1) Stop the CSG drilling at Broke now, order a complete investigation into the impacts of CSG and complete all the relevant baseline studies required before recommencement of any CSG activities.
(2) Ban fracking.
(3) Make your aquifer policy an enforceable regulation and don’t water it down before you do so.
(4) Protect the Hunter Valley and the small communities like Broke, Branxton and Belford/Lower Belford by refusing CSG mining in these areas.
(5) Make decisions on CSG with a view to serving the community you represent and not on the amount of money your government will receive from exploration licences and royalties. We survived before CSG and we can survive in the future without it.
If you can’t see your way to do these things then it is time for a royal commission on the CSG industry and the reasons your government allowed the industry to proceed.
Maybe the time has come for the community to put in place a representative who will actually represent them.