SEEKING ANSWERS: Protesters gather outside Thomas George’s office in the wake of the release of the Chief Scientist’s report last week.
SEEKING ANSWERS: Protesters gather outside Thomas George’s office in the wake of the release of the Chief Scientist’s report last week. Marc Stapelberg

Anti-CSG groups seek response from local MPs

THE Chief Scientist's report into the state's coal seam gas industry has been out for a week, but local MP Thomas George has yet to respond.

About 40 people turned up for a CSG rally outside Mr George's office in Lismore yesterday, with similar rallies held outside Don Page's office in Ballina and Chris Gulaptis's office in Grafton.

Outside Mr George's office, anti-CSG groups were calling on the local MP to respond to the Chief Scientist's report and on the state government to ban the industry on the Northern Rivers.

The Northern Star attempted to contact Thomas George for a response several times but he did not respond before deadline.

The Chief Scientist's report found many of the technical challenges and risks posed by CSG could be managed by carefully designating areas appropriate for CSG extraction, high standards of engineering and professionalism in CSG companies, the creation of a state-wide environmental data repository and comprehensively monitoring CSG operations.

Last week in Lismore, state opposition leader John Robertson said a NSW Labor government would declare the Northern Rivers CSG-free and unconventional gas free, ensuring the protection of the region's environment, local industry, business and agricultural lands.

Gasfield Free Northern Rivers regional co-ordinator Elly Bird spoke at the Lismore rally, saying any level of risk to the community was not acceptable.

"There are clearly outlined risks in this report that identifies risks to water, risks to productive farmlands and risks to human health," Ms Bird said.

"And we know that here in the Northern Rivers there's massive community support for our campaign."

Knitting Nana Jally Hawthorn said the group would like Thomas George to show he has read the report and make a comment about it.

Bentley landowner Ross Joseph said community groups reject the gas industry's claim that the Chief Scientist's report signals a green light for unconventional gas mining in NSW.



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