O'Farrell must act to protect the Illawarra
Barry O'Farrell should immediately suspend all Coal Seam Gas exploration licenses covering the Illawarra, said Opposition Leader and Shadow Minister for the Illawarra, John Robertson, on a visit to the region this morning.
Mr Robertson met with Member for Keira Ryan Park and representatives from the action group 'Stop CSG Illawarra' in Darkes Forest today – an area that is currently covered by a Coal Seam Gas exploration license.
"I'm calling on the O'Farrell Government to act now to protect areas like Darkes Forest here in the Illawarra from Coal Seam Gas mining," said Mr Robertson.
"The impacts of Coal Seam Gas mining on aquifers and ground water, hundreds of metres below the surface, are not yet fully understood.
"Until more conclusive scientific evidence is available – we need to hit the pause button on this industry.
"NSW Labor is calling for all Coal Seam Gas exploration licenses to be suspended and no new extraction licenses issued until we can be sure it's safe.
"This issue is about the water we drink and the food we eat – because once an aquifer is damaged, it can never be repaired."
Member for Keira Ryan Park is a member of Labor's Coal Seam Gas Taskforce that has been touring the State to gain a greater understanding of the issues at stake.
"It is absolutely staggering when you look at maps of the Illawarra, overlaid with existing Coal Seam Gas exploration licenses," said Mr Park.
"The entire region is exposed and the water table underneath it.
"The Coal Seam Gas industry has the potential to deliver significant benefits to the NSW economy but we can't allow that to come at the expense of local communities, and our precious water resources.
"That's why I've welcomed the tough stance taken by John Robertson on this issue – and I intend to continue working with him to protect the Illawarra."
Mr Robertson said the Illawarra had very quickly become a Coal Seam Gas hot spot.
"Ryan Park and the Stop CSG Illawarra group have been outspoken on this issue
from day one," he said.
"It's time for the Government to listen to the concerns being raised by local communities and scientists, and put a halt to the expansion of Coal Seam Gas mining and exploration."
Tags: Barry, community, CSG, environment, farming, food, John Robertson, mining, O'Farrell, Ryan Park, Illawarra, , science, water