Impacts exposed: public meetings address coal seam concerns


Media Alert 22 February 2013

Public meetings – Health, Environment and Economy: What does coal seam gas and mining mean for your region?
Community memCSG MEETING POSTER all 4bers and politicians from across North West NSW are coming together in a series of public meetings in the last week of February to learn more about the impacts of rapidly expanding coal seam gas and open cut coal mining, hearing from three experts travelling to the region from across Australia.
Mark Ogge of The Australia Institute will discuss the effects of coal seam gas development on jobs and the economy.
Author Sharyn Munro will share her insights on the impacts on people and communities nationwide from the coal and CSG industries, as detailed in her book ‘Rich Land, Wasteland’.
Dr Steven Robinson of Doctors for the Environment Australia aims to prevent and address the ill health resulting from damage to the natural environment.
“This is a great opportunity for residents from Tamworth to Moree to hear from notable speakers who have a wealth of knowledge on how coal seam gas and open cut coal mining impacts on health, water, local communities and the economy,” said Maules Creek farmer Phil Laird.
“Knowing the impact that open cut mining has had on the Hunter Valley, and now hearing about the communities forced to live among gas fields in QLD, I would say this is too important for residents across the North-west to ignore,” said Jan Bryan of Tamworth.
“These public meetings will be a great chance for locals to learn more about the issues and connect with others who are seeking information,” she said.
Meeting attendees should expect to find out more about the specifics of the negative health and economic impacts of the rapidly expanding industries.
Mr Ogge of the Australia Institute will also meet with Councils and Chambers of Commerce including Narrabri, Moree Plains, Tamworth and Gunnedah alongside the public meetings.
“The gas industry doesn’t employ many people, particularly after the short lived construction period. It does however crowd out jobs in other industries, particularly manufacturing, agriculture, education and tourism,” said Mr Ogge.
“Any benefits to local communities are limited as the workforce is largely brought in from elsewhere and there are significant costs imposed by skills shortages and the strain on local infrastructure.”
Sharyn Munro said, “I saw and heard firsthand the pain and disillusionment of the people in the path of these runaway extractive industries, especially in rural areas. Regions need to be forewarned that the reality is never what the companies or the government assure in advance.”
Dr Steven Robinson will speak to the meeting addressing health impact concerns.
“Coal seam gas mining and open cut coal mining both pose potential serious health risks. Latest research shows deaths and chronic disability is to be expected from coal dust even when mines keep to within their consent conditions,” said Doctor Robinson.
New England Federal MP Tony Windsor will attend the Tamworth public meeting on Monday night. A range of other federal, state and local representatives from across the region have been invited.
The public meetings are an initiative of the Northwest Alliance, a collection of over 30 groups working for the protection of Northwest NSW land, water and communities from the problems associated with coal seam gas and open cut coal mining.
Meeting details:  6:30pm – 8pm, Tamworth Community Centre 25 February, Gunnedah Services and Bowling Club 26 February, Narrabri High School 27 February, Moree Town Hall 28 February 2013.
Flier with further info attached.