Poll finds 65% oppose coal seam gas in Richmond Valley LGA
ALMOST two-thirds of Richmond Valley residents are against CSG development, an independent Southern Cross University survey has revealed.
The exit poll survey was held - conducted on Federal election day, September 7 this year and - asked: "Do you support coal seam gas exploration and production in the Richmond Valley Council area?"
Of the 605 residents surveyed, 65% were opposed to coal seam gas, while 18% were in support and 17% undecided.
The Richmond Valley result appears to contradict a telephone poll by Richmond Valley Council that which found that 70% of the community were at least somewhat supportive of the industry if it was proven safe and could boost employment in the region.
The referendum-style question asked by SCU researchers was identical to the question used in the Lismore CSG poll at the Lismore council elections last year, where 87% of people said they opposed coal seam gas.
The SCU research team conducted the survey again in Lismore on Federal election day this year and found 85% of people remained opposed to the industry.
The multiple polls add credibility to the findings at a time when the industry is being championed as a boon for rural communities by Federal Industry Minister Ian Macfarlane.
Report co-author Hanabeth Luke said while the community recognised the potential economic benefits of the industry, they were outweighed by perceived potential long-term negative impacts, particularly for natural water systems.
Despite Lismore's strong opposition to CSG, the Richmond Valley results are important because any large-scale CSG development on the Northern Rivers would likely take place mainly around Casino - not Lismore.
While anti-CSG community groups have also conducted their own surveys in the past, this was the first independent academic study of the Richmond Valley 's position.