VOTING WITH THEIR FEET: Lock the Gate launches its Call to Country in front of Janelle Saffin’s office in Lismore last Friday, asking for national law reform on coal and gas mining.
VOTING WITH THEIR FEET: Lock the Gate launches its Call to Country in front of Janelle Saffin’s office in Lismore last Friday, asking for national law reform on coal and gas mining. Mireille Merlet-Shaw

CSG goes to the polls

COAL seam gas has the potential to influence the federal election, Lock The Gate Alliance president Drew Hutton said yesterday.

Mr Hutton was in Canberra to launch the LTGA's election campaign, Call to Country - a list of policy demands for law reform on coal and gas mining.

He predicted a number of marginal seats would be up for grabs at the federal election because of CSG, particularly in New South Wales.

Mr Hutton said the O'Farrell Government's failure to do more than "simply promise to ban coal seam gas in western Sydney" could make the Coalition vulnerable come September 14, with electorates in the Hunter and other regional parts of the state also "in play".

And he laid the blame at the feet of NSW Nationals MPs, accusing them of "failing their constituents".

"I predict that National Party members will be in trouble, especially from anti-coal and coal seam gas independents," he said.

The list of policy demands sent to 150 lower house MPs include an immediate moratorium on unconventional gas and coal seam gas - as well as "no-go zones" to protect tourism icons, agricultural land and dwellings.

Rallies were held across eastern Australia yesterday, culminating in the launch led by Mr Hutton.

The Lismore launch outside Federal Page MP Jan- elle Saffin's Lismore office drew 120 supporters.

Northern Rivers spokesperson Ian Gaillard said slowing the unrestrained expansion of the coal and gas industries was critical.

"We're talking about the Great Artesian Basin and the threat to our water resources from CSG," Mr Gaillard said.

"We're also talking about a mine in Queensland three times bigger than any other coal mine in Australia's history, and we're talking about eight coal and gas ports in the Great Barrier Reef which will introduce a huge amount of shipping and damage to the Reef."

"They're totally focused on their election prospects now. If we keep building at all levels a campaign to do something about this, then we may have some effect."



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