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



This tattoo costs her jobs, but it's not discrimination

The tattoo on her ankle is about the size of a 10 cent piece.

Community gathers to celebrate anniversary

Lunch With Friends founders Bill Luvring (left) and Denis Pommer great guests at the 10th anniversary luncheon.

Crowd celebrates Lunch WIth Friends aid program's 10th anniversary

VIDEO: Migaloo’s son has a whale of a time in Tweed waters

Migaloo delighted spectators off the Tweed Coast today.

MIGALOO'S son made a splash in seawaters off the Tweed coast

Latest deals and offers

Swimwear designer looking for love on The Bachelor

Noni Janur on her first day of filming.

The 25-year-old is one of 22 women vying for Richie Strahan’s heart

Three reasons your mind will be blown this week

Alan Dale and Jacki Weaver in a scene from the TV series Secret City.

THREE shows on Foxtel to make your mind boggle.

Elena wins MasterChef: “I’m ecstatic and eager to celebrate"

MasterChef Australia 2016 winner Elena Duggan, from Noosa.

NOOSA chefs survive marathon grand final dish by Heston Blumenthal.

Shannen Doherty shaves hair during cancer battle

Shannen Doherty has completely shaved off her hair

Brian McFadden makes daughters pay for own Christmas gifts

McFadden makes his daughters pay for half their presents

You can own this Queensland town for just $1

Yelarbon

Unprecedented auction of town's business centre with no reserve

Work starts on $15M Caloundra apartment building

Turning the first sod at the Aqua View Apartments site in Kings Beach are (from left) husband-and-wife developers Alex Yuan and Stella Sun with construction company Tomkins director Mike Tomkins and Councillor Tim Dwyer.

Developers excited about addition to Kings Beach skyline

Plans revealed for 1500-lot 'master-planned community'

Precinct will be bounded by Boundary St and Shoesmith Rd

Ecco Ripley sales run sparks prime release

MOVING IN: Sekisui House has announced the release of more residential blocks at Ecco Ripley.

Sekisui House is preparing to unveil more land at Ecco Ripley

Massive residential 9-storey high-rise hit by delays

An artist’s impression of the eight-storey-high apartment complex that Bernoth Holdings wants to build in South Toowoomba, next to the City Golf Club.

Developer struggles to get approved high-rise development started