News

MPs endure noisy protest barrage at coal seam gas meeting

Protestors massed outside Lismore City Hall and followed State Minister Brad Hazzard into the building to question him on CSG in the Northern Rivers. Photo Marc Stapelberg / The Northern Star
Protestors massed outside Lismore City Hall and followed State Minister Brad Hazzard into the building to question him on CSG in the Northern Rivers. Photo Marc Stapelberg / The Northern Star Marc Stapelberg

ANGER and frustration about coal seam gas mining on the Northern Rivers reached fever pitch yesterday during State Planning Minister Brad Hazzard's visit to Lismore for a public meeting on CSG.

At least 800 anti-CSG protesters and Northern Rivers locals flooded into Lismore City Hall for the event, with a lack of seating at first forcing police to delay proceedings. While presented as an opportunity for senior public servants to answer questions about the government's recently released CSG policy, such was the vocal opposition to the policy that the hapless panel was often inaudible.

On several occasions audience members jeered and shouted at panel members, while many turned their backs in a symbol of defiance.

Lismore MP Thomas George and Mr Hazzard struggled in vain to control the meeting, with Mr George at one point

threatening to end the meeting early.

Audience questions covered a wide spectrum of CSG-related concerns, including a lack of regulation, lack of popular support, threats to biodiversity and water, and more recently the industry's potential impact on climate change.

Several scientists fired questions to the panel including SCU's Dr Isaac Santos, who asked the ratio of groundwater monitoring wells to drilling wells. The answer was not forthcoming.

At one point, a child was met with a standing ovation when she asked Mr Hazzard to "promise me my animals won't get poisoned".

"We are sensible intelligent beings," one audience member announced. "You are not addressing any of our concerns."

After Mr Hazzard closed the meeting, a chorus of protesters shouting "No means No" followed the panel as they left the building.

Mr George labelled the meeting an embarrassment, saying both he and Mr Hazzard were spat on while leaving.

Mr Hazzard called it "10 out of 10 for a demonstration, 0 out of 10 for a try at a community exchange of concerns". "Nothing about this morning's meeting will stop us from trying to reach a fair and open policy for those who genuinely want to take part in a conversation on the issue," he said.

Lock The Gate Northern Rivers spokesman Ian Gaillard said the emotions were legitimate. "Unconventional gas is unsafe and that's why people are emotional - it's their livelihood at stake. Your land, the place you live, the purchase of your house are the biggest decisions you make in your life," Mr Gaillard said.

Richmond LAC Inspector Rob Dempsey said community members were acting within their rights to protest and there were no reportable incidents.

 

 

Was yesterday's public meeting on coal seam gas a success?

This poll ended on 07 December 2012.

Yes - 68%

No - 31%

This is not a scientific poll. The results reflect only the opinions of those who chose to participate.

Topics:  brad hazzard, csg, lock the gate, nsw government, protest, thomas george



Stay Connected

Update your news preferences and get the latest news delivered to your inbox.

Habitat help for Tweed Coast koalas

A koala in a newly planted tree on the Tweed Coast.

Coastal koala habitat in limelight with funding boost

Rainbow to make way for new bridge mural

COLOURFUL MEMORIAL: File photo of Marley’s family, David Cross, Abbyrose Cross and Raquel Morton, at the Kyogle Rd bridge, in November 2014, and below, an artist’s impression of the new mural to be painted on the bridge.

Uki's rainbow bridge for Marley to get new mural

Elderly woman dies after fire engulfs her home

A crime scene has now been declared.

Latest deals and offers

Barnaby Joyce talks Johnny Depp's dogs in Tweed

Deputy Prime Minister Barnaby Joyce talks about Johnny Depp's dogs Pistol and Boo...

Road rage caught on Dashcam

Attack with a baseball bat caught on Dashcam

Video of a violent road rage incident in Orange last December.

Malcolm Turnbull and Barnaby Joyce tour Rockhampton sweet potato farm

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull and Deputy Prime Minister Barnaby Joyce visit a...

Perfect time to invest in Northern Rivers property

The Northern Rivers rental market is tighter than Sydney making it the perfect time for investors to get better returns out of property than superannuation or banks deposits.

Low interest rates and tight rental market are prime time to invest