Land council's CSG strategy

IN a move sure to anger North Coast Aboriginal community leaders opposed to the coal seam gas industry, the NSW Aboriginal Land Council has gone ahead with plans to apply for a petroleum prospecting licence over a 900sq km section of land in the area.

A recent advertisement in local media advised the council had lodged Petroleum Special Prospecting Authority Application number 55 with the State Government.

The application covers an area of about 900sq km, takes in Murwillumbah and parts of Mullumbimby and stretches to about 10km west of Byron Bay.

NSW Aboriginal Land Council chief Geoff Scott said the move "was borne out of frustration and an understanding that if Aboriginal people wait for government to invest properly in Aboriginal communities, they'd be waiting a long, long time".

"If we want to stand on our own, without reliance on government, then we have to be prepared to lead the way on issues, and that includes investing our own resources," Mr Scott said.

"The push behind this is to end Aboriginal poverty.

"We owe it to ourselves, and to future generations of Aboriginal people to be in a position to meet our own needs.

"We can sit on the sidelines or we can take an active role to become part of the real Australian economy."

Aboriginal community representatives called for an inquiry to be held into the decision of the Land Council to make the applications when they announced their intentions in March

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