Members of the community have urged Dubbo Regional Council to take a stance against fracking.
At the April council meeting on Monday night, mayor Ben Shields introduced a Mayoral Minute to review council’s position statement on Coal Seam Gas.
Cr Shields said it was his belief CSG was an industry that posed great risk to the city’s future economic potential. It also had an unreasonably high chance of doing permanent, irreversible damage to the environment, he said.
Sally Forsstrom, Shirley Colless and Matt Parmeter all spoke at the meeting against CSG exploration.
Ms Colless said Coal Seam Gas exploration was not necessary.
“Coal Seam Gas is not the thing that will keep us going. It will in the end, if we let it continue, destroy us. Make a considered response by the council,” she said.
“You are responsible for the welfare of this whole area. Dubbo Regional Council, it’s a whacking big area for you to look after and it’s an area that’s highly dependant on the waters of the great artisan basin.”
Ms Forsstrom, convener of Gasfield Free Dubbo, said there was a perception CSG wouldn’t affect people in Dubbo. However, Ms Forsstrom said as well as a risk to the water supply CSG exploration would bring, there would also be an increased risk of fire, air pollution and drought.
Society’s energy needs could be met with renewable energy, Mr Parmeter said. The region was already seeing job growth from solar projects, he said.
“There’s no need for Coal Seam Gas and we ask council to follow the lead of Gilgandra council and support a gas free approach,” Mr Parmeter said.
Councillor Greg Mohr said he was also against CSG.
“The simple fact is we have a huge underground aquifer in Dubbo. If it gets wrecked by some mining company that comes into Dubbo than our water supply in Dubbo and the surrounds is gone,” he said.
Meanwhile, councillor Stephen Lawrence said while he was also against CSG, he would try and keep an open mind when listening to residents.
Cr Shields said there were no proposals in the local government area for CSG, but it was also a matter of sticking up for neighbouring areas.
Regardless of what he personally thought, or the councillors thought, Cr Shields said the policy will be determined based on the views of the people of Dubbo.
The public will be given an opportunity to comment on the policy before it is finalised by council.