Councils consider Queensland CSG tour

LISMORE councillor Graham Meineke wants councillors to conduct a fact-finding mission to coal seam gas mining regions in Queensland to find out first hand what the impacts of the industry have been on regional towns.

Cr Meineke (pictured) plans to put forward a notice of motion at the next council meeting on November 13.

"What I am proposing is for councillors and senior staff to visit the Queensland gas field to see what impacts, both negative and positive, the CSG industry has had up there... I hope we could talk to landowners, mining operators, business people in the town and council staff," he said.

Cr Meineke said a colleague of his had visited the gas fields and was "appalled by the impact of heavy vehicles on the roads."

"That's something I hadn't thought about at all, so it would be good to talk to councillors about the impacts on their budgets."

NSW Planning Minister Brad Hazzard recently made a comment to Mayor Jenny Dowell that gas was coming, regardless of the community's desire to stop it.

Cr Meineke said therefore council needed to be "acquainted with the facts" and get "a balanced view" of the industry.

Richmond Valley Council Mayor Ernie Bennett has suggested a similar field trip and Cr Meineke said if his motion gets up, they may make it a joint venture.

Mayor Bennett told The Echo he wants to hear what "the average person in the street" has to say, as well as councils and businesses.

"As many people speak to me for the industry as against... We've got a situation where the State Government has given the industry the go ahead here, so I want to hear what issues are, and what things we need to be dealing with."

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