Lismore council to vote on CSG reference in regional plan

LISMORE councillors will tonight vote on whether to "totally reject" a reference to coal seam gas in the Draft Far North Coast Regional Plan.

The motion, put forward by Councillor Simon Clough, is in opposition to a statement in the draft plan which says that "the Clarence-Moreton Basin ... coal seam gas resources may be able to support the development and growth of new industries and provide economic benefits to the region".

Cr Clough is also calling for Lismore City Council to contact all councils on the Northern Rivers to seek support, and wants the council to write to Lismore MP Thomas George, the Planning and Environment Minister, the Trade and Industry Minister and the Premier.

"Communities and councils of the Northern Rivers have waged the largest and longest running social movement ever seen in this region to rid it of the possibility of unconventional gas mining," Cr Clough writes in his motion.

"Surveys of 33,670 people carried out on the Northern Rivers saw 147 communities declare themselves Gasfield-Free with 95% opposed to unconventional gas mining.

"Not to mention the 87% that voted against CSG in council's poll.

"The community convincingly rejected unconventional gas because of its impact on: The region's water, air and agricultural land resources; its destruction of rural landscapes; on the economic and social well-being of our region; climate change through fugitive emissions and removing the focus from renewable energy.

"The NSW state government has pledged that this area will be free from invasive, industrial gasfields.

"The government paid Metgasco $25 million for its gas licences so that it would leave the area.

"Yet the Department of Planning and Environment is raising the potential of coal seam gas returning.

"The people of the region can rightly say, 'What is the government thinking?'"

Lismore councillors will vote on Cr Clough's motion at tonight's council meeting, which will be held at the chambers from 6pm.

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