Dalby CSG probe gives voice to residents

NOT BIASED: Senator Glenn Lazarus defends his committee’s position on CSG, which he described as a “scourge” last week.
NOT BIASED: Senator Glenn Lazarus defends his committee’s position on CSG, which he described as a “scourge” last week. Alasdair Young

A PUBLIC hearing into the effects of mining in the Surat Basin has seen 10 disgruntled residents submit damning claims for the record.

Senators Larissa Waters, Glenn Lazarus, Joseph Ludwig and Joanna Lindgren, along with Jeanette Radcliffe, made up the Select Committee on Unconventional Gas Mining, which gathered at the Dalby Leagues Club yesterday.

Western Downs speakers included Helen Bender, Shay Dougall, Nood, Narelle Nothdurft, Peter McGowan, Joe Hill, Lindsay Boyle and Brian Monk.

The major issue continued to be the mandatory secrecy of the industry, enforced through non-disclosure agreements, and a sense of not being listened to or negotiated with.

The Nothdurfts said that since allowing QGC to drill on their property, their children had suffered ongoing headaches, nosebleeds and anxiety caused by the equipment noise.

Ms Bender told the hearing that Origin APLNG had intentionally dragged out negotiations meant to be resolved within two months to 555 business days.

She also tendered photographs of pigs at the property which had died en masse from a mystery illness, blaming the leaking gases.

Doctors Gavin Mudd and Geralyn McCarron also gave testimony in a private capacity, which will be included in the Hansard set to be released next week.

Senator Lazarus chaired the committee and was careful to distance himself from extremism, denying any political ties to the Lock the Gate movement and insinuations that CSG representatives had not been invited to the hearing.

No CSG representatives were present, though APPEA Queensland Director Chris Lamont expressed concerns that Senator Lazarus' attacks on the industry suggested he was not seeking evidence-based responses or submissions.

"If this inquiry is to be worthwhile it must hear from independent experts and examine claims from all sides of the debate," he said.

"We hope to see a final committee report that is balanced and factual. It is important that fear campaigning and misinformation do not displace fact."

Topics:  csg dalby public meeting western downs

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