Dubbo Regional Council, community say no to Coal Seam Gas

FARMS NOT GAS: Sally Forsstrom, Ray Peckham and Margaret Evans encouraging people to 'lock the gate'. Photo: ORLANDER RUMING
FARMS NOT GAS: Sally Forsstrom, Ray Peckham and Margaret Evans encouraging people to 'lock the gate'. Photo: ORLANDER RUMING

Dubbo Regional Council has sent a strong message to those looking to undertaken Coal Seam Gas exploration in the region: frack off.

At the recent council meeting, councillors unanimously voted to say they do not support the exploration of Coal Seam Gas Production in the Local Government Area because it had negative impacts on the environment and no lasting economic benefit.

The decision was made after a public consultation period where the overwhelming majority of people were opposed to Coal Seam Gas extraction. Of the 661 responses to council’s online poll asking if Coal Seam Gas should be extracted in the region, 94 per cent said ‘no’.

Sally Forsstrom and Margaret Evans.

Sally Forsstrom and Margaret Evans.

Councillor Dayne Gumley said the only thing for council to say was ‘lock the gates’.

Gasfield Free Dubbo Region’s Sally Forsstrom said in an era of drought and climate change the precious nature of our underground water was all the more apparent.

“We have seen communities across our region stand together against the threat of unconventional gas, it’s wonderful to see a proactive stance taken here in Dubbo,” she said.

Ms Forsstrom said council’s CSG ban was for the benefit of all of NSW.

Santos NSW holds the only Petroleum Exploration Title that impacts the LGA. Its licence includes the Goonoo National Park.

Councillor John Ryan said it was clear the community was against CSG.

“Every survey, every conversation I have with people basically has been against CSG,” Cr Ryan said.

“Our groundwater reserves are very precious and there is no way that the science is in that CSG can be done in any sort of environmentally manner. The more you hear about it and the more you see the overseas and interstate experience, the scarier it is.”

Councillor Stephen Lawrence said CSG was not a matter local government had any power to stop, however, he hoped the motion would make council’s position “loud and clear”.

Council will also notify the NSW government of its CSG position.