Candidates commit to CSG fight

Tweed Valley resident Audrey O'Donnell with the coal-seam gas threat, as depicted by the Grim Reaper, at Mount Burrell.
Tweed Valley resident Audrey O'Donnell with the coal-seam gas threat, as depicted by the Grim Reaper, at Mount Burrell. Mairi Manley

LOCK the Gate-Tweed has thrown down the gauntlet to candidates running in Saturday's Tweed council election on the coal-seam gas mining issue.

The organisation opposing CSG mining on the Tweed sent a survey to each of the candidates to gain their views on the contentious issue.

Organiser Michael McNamara said the survey reflected a range of views on how to best combat the threat posed by CSG to the Tweed community.

"Most candidates and teams surveyed indicated that they opposed CSG in the Tweed and that they would take at least some steps to combat the threat," he said.

"We asked for commitments across eight policy areas and nine action areas"

"The policy commitments sought included supporting a moratorium, an independent study into the effect of CSG operations, supporting health impact assessments, support for no go zones, consent role for local government, informing and consulting with the community, working with other councils and publicly advocating for state and federal governments to implement these policies.

"The action commitments sought included removing delegated authority from council officers for any CSG-related development, imposing development approval conditions to prohibit CSG operations, Development Control Plan for seismic testing, supporting community activities against CSG, lobbying state and federal members and ministers, being proactive in regional council bodies, refusing access to council owned or controlled land and investigating other avenues to stop CSG activities."

"We then awarded points on the following scale: 2 - Support for and commitment to implement the proposed policy/action; 1 - Qualified support for the proposal; 0 - No reply or not supporting the proposal."

Mr McNamara said teams represented by Gary Bagnall, Katie Milne, Warren Polglase, Dot Holdom, Eddie Roberts, Barry Longland, Kaye Sharples and Michael Armstrong responded to the survey.

He said ungrouped candidates Chris Cherry, Russell Kilarney and Lindy Smith also responded.

Mr McNamara said Phil Youngblutt declined to participate but "indicated verbally that he had voted for and continued to support a moratorium on CSG in the Tweed."

"Six teams and the three ungrouped candidates who responded achieved the maximum 34 points in the survey," Mr McNamara said.

"Those teams were the Bagnall, Milne, Longland, Roberts, Holdom and Sharples teams."

Mr McNamara said two other teams (Polglase and Labor) received lesser points because of their qualifications on the support they had for proposed policies and actions.

"All these teams and candidates have committed, if elected, to taking strong, positive action to protect the Tweed community against the threat of CSG," Mr McNamara said.

"These responses demonstrate the strong opposition to CSG in the Tweed from across all political perspectives.

"The responses indicate that most candidates are trying, to at least some degree, reflect the strong community views expressed through the CSG-free Communities initiative.

"The Phil Youngblutt team received 2 points for the ongoing support for a moratorium," according to Mr McNamara.

The detailed answers from each candidate or team, including comments and qualifications will be available on the Lock the Gate - Tweed website at lockthegate-tweed.org.

Residents and farmers protest against coal seam gas mining at Mount Burrell.
Residents and farmers protest against coal seam gas mining at Mount Burrell.

Topics:  coal seam gas, lock the gate tweed, tweed shire council election 2012



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