News

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



Our young Attenborough scoops documentary awards

Knockrow wildlife documentary maker Marli Lopez-Hope during filming for The Great Forest

"The subject has created a lot of talk, which is what we wanted."

Why this Lismore mum will no longer be forced to sell her home

MUCH NEEDED: Rotary Club of Summerland Sunrise donated almost $4500 to the Mitchell family for renovations to support mobility for their son Isaac, who has cerebral palsy. Pictured is Rose Mitchell and Isaac (foreground), with (from left) Past President Andrew Heap, Josephine Saunders, President Zell Bennett, and Graham Meineke (background).

A local club has made a huge difference for this family

Surfrider Foundation to give voice to Ballina surfers

BURIED: This steel anchor, a component of the planned Lighthouse Beach shark barrier, is now completely buried along with several others after two days of big swell and high tides.

A "positive outcome” from the shark barrier debacle.

Local Partners

Bonus point gets Dan and Carleen over the line on The Block

Dan and Carleen in their winning living and dining rooms in a scene from The Block.

BABY boomers win living and dining week as show hits halfway mark.

Olivia Wilde having a girl

Olivia Wilde revealed she is expecting a baby girl.

Michael Palin: Terry Jones dementia is 'painful' to see

Michael Palin has found Terry Jones' decline "painful to watch"

Daniel Radcliffe hoped for haircut anonymity

Radcliffe thought shaving his head would make him more anonymous

Jim Carrey slams 'shameful greed' of lawsuit

Jim Carrey has slammed the "shameful greed" of White's ex-husband.

'Highly unlikely' Brad Pitt will face prosecution

It is highly unlikely that Brad Pitt will be prosecuted

Buyers forking out millions

Owners benefiting from undersupplied Northern Rivers market

UPDATE: Former rodeo champ's sale rained out, now back on

Larkhill local Ken Consiglio is having an auction of most of the things on his property.

'People kept showing up and we had to turn them away'

Couple build their own 'tiny house' for $45k

Holly Bowen and Oli Bucher built their "tiny house" themselves, only hiring a plumber and an electrician. Photo/supplied

The house, which is built on a trailer and can be towed.

Sunshine Beach property breaks real estate record

The property overlooks Sunshine Beach, as the backyard lawn meets the sand.

Sunshine Beach mansion sale smashes real estate record

New $33 million development planned for Ballina Shire

The site of a proposed seniors living development at Skennars Head.

Plans include 211 homes, clubhouse and recreational facilities

SOLD: Historic hotel finds new owner

Post Office Hotel Grafton

Photo Adam Hourigan / The Daily Examiner

Pub in new hands and heading in a brand new direction