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Moratorium on GSG mining thrown out with opponents

OPPONENTS of coal seam gas (CSG) mining have been thrown out of NSW parliament for shouting at government MPs after a proposed Greens’ moratorium was voted down in the upper house.

Greens MP Jeremy Buckingham put forward the moratorium bill, calling for a “pause” in CSG extraction and saying it would be a “dereliction of duty” to oppose it.

State MP for Keira  Ryan Park said CSG mining is a major concern for Illawarra locals.

“In particular given the fact that this mining is due to take place in the sensitive water catchment areas of our region,” Mr Park said.

The Strategic Land Use Policy does not rule out fracking in the sensitive Illawarra Catchment area.

“I have said consistently that water needs to come before gas and we as a community expect a thorough, independent scientific approach to be taken before any further exploration and extraction licences are issued,” Mr Park said.

“We must do the scientific work, initiated by the Commonwealth Government before we go down this path,” he said.

Mr Park emphasised that given the role mining plays in the region, he was not anti the CSG Industry, but that it needs to be done in an approach that considers the impact on our most precious of resources, drinking water.

Meanwhile a screening of the documentary Gasland is being organised at Corrimal on Saturday by members of Stop CSG Illawarra.

The film looks at communities in the US impacted by unconventional gas drilling, and the practice of fracking.

After the film there will be discussion about the local coal seam gas (CSG) projects – the 16 wells approved for development and Petroleum Exploration Licences that extend from Helensburgh to Sussex Inlet – and the community campaign to stop them.

Stop CSG Illawarra said the screening is being organised to raise awareness about some of the risks associated with unconventional gas mining and to deepen community involvement in the grassroots campaign.

* Corrimal screening: 2:30pm, Saturday March 17, Corrimal Community Centre.

About Mick Roberts

A newspaper journalist, writer and local historian, Mick Roberts specialises in Australian cultural history, particularly associated with the Australian hotel and liquor industry. Mick has had an interest in revealing the colourful story of pubs, inns and associated industries in the Sydney and Illawarra regions of NSW for over 30 years. He is currently working on a comprehensive history of the hotel and liquor industry in the Illawarra region of NSW. Besides authoring a number of history books, Mick has owned and operated several community newspapers. He was one time editor of the Wollongong Northern News, The Bulli Times, The Northern Times, The Northern Leader and The Local - all located in the Wollongong region. As a journalist he has worked for Rural Press, Cumberland (News Limted), Sydney based, City News, and is now with Torch Publications.

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