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Thirroul forum will discuss coal seam gas

THE Stop CSG Illawarra group will host a public forum featuring The Australia Institute’s Mark Ogge today (Sunday November 4) at Thirroul.

Mr Ogge will talk about what coal seam gas (CSG) development will mean for jobs and the economy, based on the key findings of a recent report by The Australia Institute: Mining the Truth. The research systematically unpicks many myths about the size, significance and economic benefits of the mining industry, and explains the impacts of the boom on other sectors of the Australian economy.

Stop CSG Illawarra spokesperson Jess Moore stated the NSW Government and industry say we must have CSG for the economy – despite the risks – so it is important that we understand this claim and the reality.

“While the industry tells us CSG will be good for jobs, the 16 wells proposed in and around the drinking water catchment are projected to create only six ongoing jobs.”

Ms Moore said the wells pose risks to the community broadly, particularly drinking water supplies, and industry growth will negatively impact big employers in the Illawarra.

Mr Ogge said the coal seam gas industry is struggling to gain a foothold in the Illawarra region, but it is part of a massive expansion across the east coast of Australia.

“It is a major driver of the skills shortages and increase in the Australian dollar that are causing job losses in the manufacturing, tourism, education and agricultural industries,” he said.

“Mining is a small employer in the Illawarra region, but it’s having a big impact on job losses, particularly in manufacturing.

“Mining as a whole provides less than three percent of jobs in the Illawarra region. Manufacturing, despite the recent job losses, still provides over ten percent of the region’s employment.

“Manufacturing workers in the Illawarra, particularly in the steel industry are on the front line of the “crowding out” impact of the mining boom.”

The public forum will be held at the Thirroul Community Centre today from 11am.

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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