Survey tells us what we know

A HUGE majority of Lismore residents have expressed a desire to keep coal seam gas exploration out of the Lismore LGA.

Responding to the poll question 'Do you support coal seam gas (CSG) exploration and production in the Lismore City Council area?' held in conjunction with Saturday's council election, 87% of people responded 'no'.

SCU lecturer and PhD candidate at the School of Environmental Science and Engineering, Hanabeth Luke, had a team of students conducting an exit poll of 1150 people to find out why people voted the way they did.

She told The Echo although the data hasn't been properly analysed, she was able to make some observations.

"On the question of what it brought to the region, overwhelmingly the biggest concern was the harmful effects on water systems, closely following that was reduced quality of life, impacts on community health and jobs... (Most people) acknowledged it would bring jobs, but the survey shows people thought that was less important than environmental and community impacts."

Another part of the survey asked people where people got their information on CSG and Ms Luke said that local media played an important role, but she was surprised that quite a few of the respondents referred directly to scientific papers.

She also said a large percentage of people indicated they were prepared to change their mind if new credible, scientific evidence arose and that a large percentage of respondents believed the community could influence government decision making.

"The main aim of the survey was to get a deeper understanding of how people feel about the issue beyond the yes or no answers," Ms Luke said.

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