On January 28, the NSW government announced coal seam gas (CSG) reforms, including exclusion zones and a gateway process for some of the state's farmland. Under these “finalised” reforms, 96.6% of NSW can still be developed for CSG mining, including drinking water catchments.
Stop CSG Illawarra spokesperson Jess Moore stated: "These exclusion zones are a win for the campaign and for the people of NSW, but they are not enough to protect land and water.
"The gateway process cannot block CSG proposals. Under these reforms 96.6% of the state can still be developed for CSG mining.
"These CSG reforms are driven by political pressures rather than science. What makes CSG unacceptable on wine growing land, but OK on land used for meat or vegetable production?
"Drinking water catchments don't even get a mention! They remain available for CSG development and are not classified as land of strategic importance.
"While there is currently a freeze on development in the drinking water catchment, it is not part of the exclusion zones. Despite a clear pre-election promise to ban CSG development in the catchment, these reforms do not do this.
"We want the land in NSW that supplies our drinking water protected.
"CSG exploration and mining always involves unearthing water that is high in salt and methane, and can contain toxic and radioactive compounds and heavy metals. It involves methane leaks and industrial development that's incompatible with our drinking water catchments.
"A permanent ban on CSG in drinking water catchment areas is simply common sense."