Country towns becoming mine sites

Produced 28.10.2011

By Annabelle Amos

Farmers in Queensland and New South Wales are struggling with big mining companies over coal seam gas plants, and experts say it’s because they have not been properly educated about the issue.

Local Narrabri property owner, Mr Andrew Carberry, had coal seam pumps placed on his land early this month, claiming that he isn’t entirely sure of where the drilling occurs and how it impacts the Great Artesian Basin.

“I couldn’t tell you the exact process, but my understanding is that they have to drill through the basin to get gas,” he said.

Mr Carberry’s statement comes just after journalist Alan Jones accused the Federal Government of conspiring “to remove our rights” at the National Press Club last week.

Mr Jones also said that “politicians are turning some of our best land into a quarry and worthless lunar moonscape.”

The University of Queensland’s Vice-Chancellor Professor Paul Greenfield, who’s on the Federal Government’s panel of experts, said that Mr Jones isn’t entirely aware of the extraction process.

“He is confusing coal seam gas mining with open cut mining. Coal seam gas only puts a pipe on the land,” he said in response to Mr Jones.

Professor Greenfield also said that “data is still to be generated for the Artesian Basin; however, it has been proven that the impact is only small.”

He said that some people don’t know how the process of coal seam gas extraction occurs and therefore react negatively.

Narrabri’s Mayor, Cr Robyn Faber, said that farmers have become scared of the unknown and too many misleading statements like Mr Jones’ have been made.

“There are a lot of farmers who have become concerned because of bold statements by people like Alan Jones, they have become extremely frightened of the unknown,” she said ahead of the state inquiry hearing to be held in Narrabri early next month.

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