George Bender was one of five generations of Hopeland farmers who had made their livelihoods from the land since 1907.
George Bender was one of five generations of Hopeland farmers who had made their livelihoods from the land since 1907.

CSG inquiry honours late cotton farmer

THE death of Chinchilla cotton farmer and coal-seam gas critic George Bender has inspired the establishment of a Senate inquiry into the industry's impact on Australia.

Independent Senator Glenn Lazarus successfully established a Senate Select Committee on Thursday to investigate the impact of the CSG and shale gas industries since the industry started its boom in Queensland a decade ago.

Bender Inquiry

Known as the Bender Inquiry, Mr Lazarus said any legal changes to come about from the investigation would be known as "George's law" in honour of the late farmer.

The Chinchilla farmer died in early last month.

No longer ignore

"Governments can no longer ignore the impact of coal seam gas mining and other types of unconventional gas mining on the people of Australia," Mr Lazarus said.

"I have been to gasfields in Queensland and they are a living hell for people having to live in them."

"(George) Bender fought for ten years to keep CSG mining companies from coming on to his land.

"It is an absolute tragedy that he saw no way out other than to take his own life.

'Bullied to death'

"George was bullied to death. Governments and resource companies have blood on their hands.

Oil and gas industry lobby group APPEA labelled the inquiry a "wasteful stunt" and said it was confident the industry would be revealed as "safe, responsible, and enormously beneficial to Australia, especially to regional communities".

Senate hearings will be held around Australia during the inquiry but are expected to focus on the CSG-heavy Darling Downs region around Chinchilla, Tara, and Roma.



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