The NSW Government today announced its Gas Plan: the plan for the development of coal seam gas in NSW. No changes were made today, though the Government mapped its intentions.
The plan is big on rhetoric, light on detail. It’s a plan to develop CSG, in-line with comments from the Premier this week: “Do we want coal seam gas? Absolutely we do.”
The Government is effectively saying: “trust us, we’ll make CSG safe in the near future”. It’s stalling until after the election. In truth, this plan gives us no new protections for health, water or farms.
The current Government promised to ban CSG in our drinking water catchments in the lead up to the last state election. Three years later we’re still waiting. It’s hard not to be cynical.
The plan includes a commitment to compensation. As though money could fix the poisoning of our food and water. Under the plan, CSG projects can still be considered in drinking water catchments, and landholders have no right to say ‘no’ to drilling on their land.
CSG mining always involves drawing water out of the ground that’s high in salt and methane, and can contain toxic and radioactive compounds. It involves methane leaks and industrial development. The risks are simply unacceptable.
It’s wholly inappropriate to even consider allowing this industry to operate near the source of our drinking water. It should not take extraordinary efforts by the community – years of investigative work and campaigning – to have the Government keep a clear and simple promise.