Dad’s fears over CSG mining

NO CSG: Lismore Mayor Jenny Dowell at the No Gas Rig Gig at the Lismore Workers Club on Saturday.
NO CSG: Lismore Mayor Jenny Dowell at the No Gas Rig Gig at the Lismore Workers Club on Saturday. Jimmy Malecki

A RESIDENT of the Tara region in Queensland's Darling Downs, Brian Monk is convinced that coal seam gas is responsible for the debilitating impacts on his children and grandchildren's health.

For two years the family have been affected by head- aches, bleeding noses, numbness and tingling; one child has epilepsy, and a "general malaise" pervades a once-healthy family.

Mr Monk has since become a tireless anti-CSG campaigner, making many connections in the Northern Rivers. The Tara community was the beneficiary of more than $10,000 from last weekend's No Gas Rig Gig at Lismore Workers Club to fund independent medical testing.

Mr Monk feels betrayed by a Queensland Health Department study released last week and widely reported as disproving any link between CSG and the health problems plaguing 56 residents of the region.

Queensland Health Minister Lawrence Springborg told Parliament the report "found no clear link between CSG activities and health complaints".

A GP commissioned by the Health Department exam-ined 15 people reporting symptoms and was "not able to identify any specific clinical condition ... that would point to an obvious relationship between the reported complaints and exposure to chemicals or emissions involved in the CSG industry".

The report instead speculated that amental phenomenon, "solastalgia" - "distress that is produced in people by environmental change in their home environment" - might be responsible for the health problems.

A spokesman for the Minister cited the relatively small number of cases and the lack of GP visits by those reporting symptoms, but said air monitoring and regular health clinics in the region would continue.

National Toxics Network senior adviser Dr Mariann Lloyd-Smith has criticised the Queensland Health report for lacking sufficient scientific thoroughness.

Dr Lloyd-Smith said most of the research was based on industry testing handed over to Queensland Health and contained obvious gaps.

"The sampling was very limited in scope and time, ad hoc and inconsistent, yet still it found a wide range of serious air toxics (volatile organic compounds) around the Tara residents' homes," Dr Lloyd-Smith said.

For some 25 of the chemicals tested, the levels of detection used were much higher than health guidelines.

"Where it was clearly exceeded, as with benzene, it was simply dismissed, stating 'benzene is not associated with CSG so couldn't be related and must have come from other sources' with no further investigation," she said.

"That should have rung some alarm bells and it should have been investigated."

Dr Lloyd-Smith also noted the ambiguity of the report itself, which in fact stated there was: "some limited clinical evidence that might associate... some of the residents' symptoms to transient exposures to airborne contaminants arising from CSG activities".

"It's not the comprehensive health report the residents of Tara hoped they would get."

Topics:  coal seam gas csg

10 years on: Death of four boys 'still so raw'

The memorial along Broken Head Road near Suffolk Park for the Southern Cross LADS.

In tomorrow's paper, we talk to the families about ongoing grief

Civil Dusk success is support for local project

ARIA NOMINATION: Bernard Fanning's latest offering Civil Dusk has been nominated for four ARIA awards this year.

Bernard Fanning's third solo album nominated for four ARIA awards

Swimming spots that could cause vomiting, diarrhoea, fever

Swimmers at the mouth of the Evans River.

Health risks include vomiting, diarrhea, nausea, headaches, fevers

Local Partners

Quality vealers and weaners with mixture of meatwork cows

300 cattle were sold at Lismore Saleyards on Tuesday.

Emily's portrait of a landscape

ART SHOW: Emily Imeson's Portraits of Landscapes opens tonight. The young artist has been awarded an Arts NSW scholarship.

Artist Emily Imeson is turning the landscape art world on its head

What does 'home' mean to you?

What does the concept of home mean to you. A new exhibition will show what it means to four contemporary artists.

Special guest curators present All New Home

Get your motor running against depression

READY TO RIDE: Left to right: Alan Butler (Motorcycle enthusiast), Jim Butler (Shannon's insurance), Niall Mulligan (Centre Manager - Northern Rivers Lifeline), Chris Chapman (Manager at Plateau Sports Club, Alstonville), Peter Kelly (Major sponsor HSU NSW/ACT), 
Front: Nicholas Kostyn (Event Coordinator CvD)

Motorbike riders making a difference in their community

Selma Blair blames flight outburst on 'psychotic blackout'

Selma Blair

"I am someone who should never drink, and I rarely do"

Picking on the great music

COUNTRY BLUES: The Wilson Pickers - Sime Nugent, Danny Widdicombe, John Bedggood, Ben Salter and Andrew Morris.

Wilson Pickers launch new album, You Can't Catch Fish From a Train

Bob Dylan acknowledges Nobel Prize win

Bob Dylan has finally acknowledged his Nobel Prize win

WATCH: Trailer for Jackman's final Wolverine film released

First trailer for the last Wolverine film with Hugh Jackman.

Thrilling trailer promises a dark, dystopian finale for Wolverine

What does 'home' mean to you?

What does the concept of home mean to you. A new exhibition will show what it means to four contemporary artists.

Special guest curators present All New Home

Pop Crimes committed locally

COMING SOON: Australian artist Rhyece O'Neill.

Inaugural Pop Crimes Festival will be held in Billinudgel

New $200 million development will create 580 jobs

Cassie And Josh with baby Alfie and daughter Andee. They have bought at new Lennox Head development Epiq.

Majority of new positions will be given to Northern Rivers locals

Cherrabah's mega resort plans axed

PLANS for a massive development at Cherrabah have been scrapped.

Dusit Thani finance crisis 'just a small hiccup'

ON TRACK: Springfield Land Chairman, Maha Sinnathamby, Ipswich Mayor Paul Pisasale, Developer Richard Turner and Springfield Land Deputy Chairman, Bob Sharpless, at the recent resort sod turning ceremony.

Property developer says project remains firmly on track

Heavyweight enters real estate market

Des Besanko principal and director of Raine and Horne Springfield.

Major rebranding which has seen two big name brands merge

Tenants renting rooms on Airbnb breaching lease

Rental properties.

Tenants renting rooms on Airbnb is a no no

First home buyers smash avo-on-toast excuse

TOASTED: A Coast real estate identity and first home buyers say young people should not put home ownership in the "too hard” basket and eat out instead.

Determined first home buyers can get into market