Senate inquiry into unconventional gas will come to Northern Rivers
THE Senate Inquiry into unconventional gas mining announced by independent Queensland Senator Glenn Lazarus in November is now underway.
Mr Lazarus, an outspoken critic of the coal-seam gas industry, secured support for the inquiry shortly after the tragic death of Chinchilla cotton farmer George Bender late last year, whose land had been earmarked against his wishes for CSG extraction.
The so-called “Bender” inquiry’s first port of call later this month is Dalby in honour of the late farmer, but it will also make stops across the country including the Northern Rivers, according to a spokeswoman from Mr Lazarus’ office.
The spokeswoman said public hearings would be run over the next three months, while written submissions would close mid-March.
Hundreds of submissions had already been received by the inquiry and potentially thousands more were expected.
Mr Lazarus said communities across his home state had been “devastated” by the industry he was determined to ensure those affected “have a voice and are heard”.
“People need the right to say no to mining on their land,” Mr Lazarus said.
“Governments must start listening to the people and formally recognising the damage unconventional gas mining is doing to people’s lives.
“Governments must stop putting profit before people.
“It seems mining companies have all the power and landholders are powerless to stop miners from coming on to their land.
He said he hoped the inquiry would help recognise the impact the industry had made on locals’ lives and bring about a change in policy toward the industry.
“Importantly, I would also like to see a national policy developed to ensure mining of any type does not occur on or near residential areas, agricultural land or fragile environmental areas,” he said.
He appealed for anyone impacted by CSG exploration or mining to make a submission to the inquiry in person or by mail.
Further information about how to make a submission or attend a public hearing can be found at www.senatorlazarus.com.
The closing date for submissions is March 14, 2016.