CSG rebuffed by council

Photo courtesy Shelley Price SJP Studios.

Models for a gasfield free South Gippsland: Melissa Ferretto, left, wearing a Gabriel Chapellene fascinator, and Alex Holness of Tarwin Lower wearing a Luna Moss floral headpiece dressed up in spring racing attire last week to spread the Lock the Gate message. With Flemington’s big racing carnival getting underway this weekend it was the ideal opportunity to use fashion as the platform. Photo courtesy Shelley Price SJP Studios.

COAL Seam Gas (CSG) protestors were outraged by the South Gippsland Shire Council’s decision not to exempt the shire from CSG mining and exploration on Wednesday.
Protestors filled council’s gallery during the ordinary meeting and were disappointed with the outcome.
Mayor Cr Jim Fawcett said he would not vote for exemption at this time because nothing has changed. He was supported by deputy mayor Cr Jeanette Harding due to the moratorium.
Cr Mohya Davies said with the moratorium in place, the motion to exempt the shire would be premature.
Cr Don Hill disagreed, saying the best time to exempt is now.
He and Councillors Andrew McEwen and Kieran Kennedy were in favour of exemption.
“CSG and fracking is not going to go away,” Cr McEwen said.
“This is just the beginning. The community has voted and 2000 people have signed petitions. On average, 95 per cent of the shire is against it. The message is clear.”
CSG puts the agricultural production industry and the tourist industry at risk. Cr McEwen believes exemption would be the best move for the community.
“A representative government is meant to speak on behalf of the community,” he said.
“Our community satisfaction is 14 per cent lower than the state average. We are not perceived as good at representing the community. This decision was critical for council.”
Cr Kennedy said he did not want to see a landscape littered by disused mining wells.
“There is more respect for a council that advocates for its people,” he said.
“We aren’t asking for a precedent across the country – we just want to protect South Gippsland’s past, present and future.”
Cr McEwen said council needs to recognise there is a potential problem at hand.
“We’ve been sold a major line by the CSG industry,” he said.
“My view is this is a test that will come back to haunt the councillors.”
Korumburra’s Jo Hogan was disappointed with council’s reluctance to act but said it was good to see three councillors willing to stand up and listen to the public’s voices.
Independent David Arnault said CSG will dramatically alter the way of life in South Gippsland.
“It will reduce land value and truck traffic will triple,” he said.
“I have not heard of a gas field that hasn’t polluted the water.”
According to Mr Arnault, after four years of having a gas field in the area childhood asthma goes up by 40 per cent and respiratory, kidney and heart problems are increased as well.
Mirboo North’s Phil Piper said he was bothered council is not taking the risks seriously.
“I like living in South Gippsland and I want it to stay the way it is,” he said.
“CSG is a huge issue. In 2012, council saw a presentation on it but not much has been done since. It’s a matter of getting its priorities right.”
A policy forum was held in Mirboo North on Sunday, attended by Gippsland South MLA and Deputy Premier Peter Ryan, Labor’s Harriet Shing, Independent Phil Piper and David Arnault, Andrea Milsom from the Greens and Dave Snelling of Australian Country Alliance.
It was an opportunity to hear the views of the candidates for Gippsland South and the Eastern Victorian Region on new coal development, unconventional gas and renewable energy.
“I have lived in Gippsland for 40 years; it is my home,” Gippsland South MLA and Deputy Premier Peter Ryan said.
“My only intention is to ensure we preserve and enhance the magnificence of that which we have and that we protect the many attributes which go into making up who we are and what we are as a Victorian community.”
Mirboo North resident Greg Price said he is for many things but strongly against CSG.
“I am for clean, renewable energy. I am for Mirboo North and healthy farm land,” he said.
“I am against filthy fracking and I’m against those who make money from methane.”
Around 96.6 per cent of Mirboo North residents said no to CSG when surveyed. Mirboo North was declared CSG free earlier this year.
Poowong, Poowong East, Poowong North, Kongwak, Bena, Moyarra and Jumbunna are the other South Gippsland towns that have declared CSG free.
Three more towns are moving towards independence with Koonwarra and Nerrena completing their public surveys and Korumburra has held an information night.

Short URL: http://thestar.com.au/?p=12569

Posted by on Oct 30 2014. Filed under Community, Featured, News. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

You must be logged in to post a comment Login

Recently Commented

  • wstaton: I guess it means he will not be able to attend any council meetings saving us ratepayers his claims for...
  • rojo: Awesome work Lynette
  • vbresident: I read Ms Page’s offering and nearly choked laughing. We have a property on the second estate in...
  • brad: Hi Robbie. Would you like your comments to run as a letter to the editor too? If so, we just need your full...
  • robbiemc: The local council should not be wasting ratepayers money to build a rail trail. And more to the point there...