The trend of local councils taking steps to express their disapproval of CSG exploration is gathering momentum, with the Griffith City Council calling on the federal government to ban coal seam gas drilling on agricultural land.
Griffith City Council general manager Brett Stonestreet said the council believed mining should be banned from areas where food and fibre is produced.
“Council does appreciate that it is quite a broad motion, but the issue for council is that agriculturally productive land across the nation is precious and we can't afford to get this wrong as we go into the 21st century with the clean and green food bowl status,” he said.
"From our council's perspective this is something [where] the national interest comes into place here.
"For the longer term if water tables and water supplies, if the productivity of land is compromised, that's something that can't be reversed.
Orange City Council in NSW passed a motion last month to ban all forms of coal seam gas mining and exploration within the boundaries of Centroc, a voluntary collaboration of local councils in Central NSW.
The motion was raised by Councillor Jeff Whitton, who said that the council at Orange needed to put mechanisms in place for dealing with CSG applications in the future, despite the powers of state parliament to overturn such a policy.
“It was a lively debate… there were 11 councillors present with nine for and two against,” he said.
“I certainly have had a lot of contact from other councils throughout New South Wales, asking permission to use my motion… so there’s certainly a number of councils in New South Wales that I’m aware of that want to put motions to their councils as well.
“If you don’t have a position in council on a particular matter, especially to do with development, then it makes it very difficult, should something arise in the next few weeks or years and it was to be rejected by council, then you really don’t have any position to stand up with if they take you to the Land and Environment Court or the minerals court.
“There are other higher government statutory bodies to deal with matters like this.”
Whitton said that he would be attending the National General Assembly of Local Government in Canberra on June 15-18.