Show us the #CSG data on health and wellbeing: Mark Doyle reports

By Mark Doyle What are the risks of coal seam gas mining on the health and wellbeing of people and their communities? I am a facts and figures kind of person. When people claim health benefits for coffee or chocolate, or health risks from eating saturated fats, my response is, ‘show me the data!’ Such data are generated through well designed epidemiological studies. Studies of chemical exposures can be complex to design and interpret. Researchers often need to disentangle possible associations with a range of illnesses, and multiple exposures. For example, farmers frequently use pesticides and herbicides, and farms can be risky places to live and work. If you add […]

#CSG pilot project winds up: @stephaniedale22 reports

By Stephanie Dale No Fibs CSG editor The pilot No Fibs CSG citizen journalism project is winding up. It’s been an absolutely wonderful project to be involved in – in just four weeks we’ve harnessed the talents of 13 new citizen journalists and triggered the interest of many more. We’ve introduced new writers and showcased new voices in the public news arena. We’ve claimed news space in a highly competitive field, sparking the attention of mainstream news media with CJ Mark Anning‘s piece exposing former Workplace Relations Minister and ABC commentator Peter Reith’s conflicts of interest in the CSG debate. We’ve inspired citizens with no prior writing experience to tap […]

An uneasy truce: Sally MacKinnon reports

  By Sally MacKinnon I live on top of a mountain on the edge of Lamington National Park, the largest protected subtropical rainforest in the world. It is on the eastern edge of the Scenic Rim region, a Local Government Area (LGA) in south-east Queensland covering 4256 square kilometres. It is home to approximately 39,000 people living in towns, villages, hamlets, farmland and forests including Aratula, Beaudesert, Beechmont, Boonah, Canungra, Kalbar, Kerry, Lost World Valley, Kooralbyn, Mount Barney, Mount Maroon, Rathdowney, Tamborine and Tamborine Mountain. We live on the edge of the McPherson Overlap where the southern tip of Queensland’s tropical rainforests meets the northern reach of Australia’s southern temperate […]

#CSG showdown in Gloucester @1earthmedia reports

By Mark Anning reports from Gloucester, NSW The NSW Government is considering an application by giant gas company AGL to begin the controversial and risky process of hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, at Forbesdale, just south of Gloucester in the Manning Valley NSW – less than 300 metres from the nearest family home and less than 600 metres from 35 homes in a zoned residential area. Premier O’Farrell is expected to announce his decision this month on AGL’s application to the NSW Office of Coal Seam Gas for their Review of Environmental Factors (REF)  for a fracking stimulation management plan – and local residents are digging in to fight the good fight. Federal […]

A fair go – the right to say ‘no’: Phil Laird reports

  By Phil Laird Weeks of rumours that peak industry bodies were providing input into the proposed amendments to the Petroleum (Onshore) Act, regarding access agreements and permits, finally found their way into social media. The Act has had amendments proposed, the most controversial of which are about access to land for petroleum (read: unconventional gas) exploration. NSW irrigators confirmed on Twitter that the Land and Water Commissioner, Jock Laurie, is in discussions about the development of a draft code for access in order to push forward the NSW Government’s CSG  agenda. Mr Laurie and NSW Farmers are yet to make comment. In recent times, the community has been mobilising house […]

Ad blitz masks truth of boom industry – Jason Egbars @jasonegbars reports

By Jason Egbars Queensland commuters have been hit with an advertising blitz as the coal seam gas industry prepares to increase operations in Queensland. On Friday, Shell banners adorned a walkway to Brisbane’s Central Station. The banners made reference to ‘cleaner electricity’ and encouraged passersby to ‘find out why we’re investing in natural gas’. Shell-owned Arrow Energy plans to invest in the lucrative gas export industry currently being set up by ConocoPhillips-Origin, Santos, and QGC on Curtis Island near Gladstone. It will be the biggest of its kind for Arrow, which currently has coal seam gas wells in Eastern Australia’s Surat and Bowen basins. Coal seam gas, exported as LNG, […]

#CSG: Conspiracies, mouthpieces and independence: Mark Anning @1earthmedia reports

By Mark Anning On 28 July 2013, the oil and gas industry peak body – Australian Petroleum Production and Exploration Association (APPEA) – issued a press release, stating: “The recent coal seam gas episode of ABC 2’s Shitsville Express was a pleasant surprise – a balanced piece of reporting on coal seam gas.” Shitsville Express is hosted by Joe Hildebrand, who, according to his Daily Telegraph Google blurb, writes ‘opinion commentary’. Is Joe Hildebrand an opinion commentator? A comedian? Is he a PR man? Or is he a journalist – as described by his Daily Telegraph bio –  bound by the MEAA journalists’ code of ethics? The day after Shitsville […]

Byron Shire quick off the NO GAS mark: Sarah Buchanan reports

By Sarah Buchanan Byron Shire’s white fella past has seen some biggish mistakes over its 130-year history – and last week Byron Shire Council took a vote for country, at last. Firstly in 1770 Captain Cook changed the Arakwal’s perfectly adequate name of Cavvanbah (meeting place) to Byron Bay, which Cook named after the ‘circumnavigator of the world’, Admiral John Byron. Then, in the early 1880s, Byron Bay’s first town planners named streets for an era of poetry inspired by the poet Lord George Gordon Noel Byron, believing that that’s who Cook had in mind. Then, during the years from the 1840s to 1880s, the timber getters all but destroyed […]

Lobbyists and public commentary: Reith in the spotlight – Mark Anning @1EarthMedia reports

By Mark Anning It was interesting to see the opinion piece written by Peter Reith for The Drum – Fracking scare campaigns threaten our prosperity – especially considering Reith is a paid political lobbyist and chairman of the Victorian Government’s task force on the eastern gas market. “The public debate is soon mired in myriad false claims, partly because government has not ensured the public is fairly informed and because some activists have other political agendas,” writes Reith. To ensure that the public is fairly informed, and agendas and vested interests are properly tabled, it should be noted that Peter Reith is a lobbyist for First State Advisors and Consultants Pty Ltd. Who […]

Occupy East Coast Gas Conference – Melinda Wilson reports

NEWS COMMENT By Melinda Wilson Over a hundred people from a wide range of community groups across Sydney and NSW voiced their concerns about the coal seam gas industry outside the East Coast Gas Outlook Conference  in Sydney last week. Government and industry were at the 22 October conference to discuss ways for agriculture and CSG to co-exist, and to outline the progress in NSW of coal seam gas licensing and regulation. The Marriot Hotel street-front was crowded with people who had travelled from all over NSW, including Lismore, Gosford, Illawarra, Shoalhaven, Byron Bay and Western Sydney to demonstrate their concerns about the expanding coal seam gas industry. The event […]