Anti-CSG protesters outside Member for Ballina Don Page’s office.
Anti-CSG protesters outside Member for Ballina Don Page’s office. Patrick Gorbunovs

People want ‘CSG freeze’

BOTH supporters and opponents of CSG in Lismore believe that more research and regulation should be required before the industry goes ahead, according to a Southern Cross University report released yesterday.

The report, Community Perspectives of Coal Seam Gas developments, analysed the results of an exit survey done during the September 2012 Lismore local government elections.

Report co-author Hanabeth Luke said the results indicated Lismore residents were still looking for more credible information about the industry.

"There were a high number of comments, from both supporters, non-supporters and undecided respondents, showing concerns that there simply had not yet been enough research into the potential environmental and health impacts of the industry," Ms Luke said.

"A large proportion of the comments also highlighted the view that legislation authorities charged with monitoring and regulating this industry are not reflecting community values."

More than 87% of the 1036 survey respondents were opposed to CSG, listing their chief concerns as negative impacts on water quality, community health and a reduced quality of life.

Jobs for the region and improved regional economy and infrastructure were the identified benefits of the 5.6% of respondents who supported CSG.

But the survey also found that more than 50% of opponents and more than 80% of supporters, were open-minded about changing their opinion on CSG if new evidence came to light.

"Interestingly, it was those in support of CSG rather than opponents who said they were more open to changing their minds," Ms Luke said.

The overwhelming majority of respondents listed word of mouth, local media, documentaries and public meetings as their preferred information sources about the industry.

The authors are now planning to undertake further research with focus groups in the area.

"We'd also like to carry out similar surveys in other areas to find out whether there are similar community responses to Lismore," Ms Luke said.

Findings

Opposition to CSG - 87%

  • Impact on water quality
  • Impact on community health
  • Reduced quality of life

Support for CSG - 5%

  • More jobs
  • Better regional economy and infrastructure
  • Clean energy


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