Push to resist CSG protests

There is a push for the Queensland coal seam gas industry to fight back against a ‘radical’ greens movement and to find new ways to deal with ‘misinformation’ by protestors.

Deputy Premier Jeff Seeney and QGC managing director Derek Fisher came out with this message on the last day of the Australian Petroleum Production and Exploration Association annual conference in Brisbane yesterday.

 “This is probably the most regulated industry in Australia and has had so much light shone on it that it’s sunburnt,” Fisher told delegates.

According to the Courier Mail, he added the greens movement had been filled with misinformation including ‘exaggerated claims that the industry will poison aquifers, drain the Great Artesian Basin and alienate farmland’.

“We understand the potential for this misinformation to be reflected in costly legislation and regulation designed not to address environmental issues, but to appease a vocal minority,” Fisher said.

The comments come as protestors from the Stop CSG Tara group prevented workers from leaving an accommodation camp at Chinchilla and blockaded two buses full of workers at the Kenya gas field.

Protests took a violent turn when a brawl broke out between a CSG protestor and a QGC contractor.

This was followed by reports of three gun shots being fired at Tara. No one was hurt.

Seeney concurred with Fisher’s frustration at the growing Greens movement and added the Queensland Government is unhappy with the volatility in policy decision-making at the federal level.

He attacked the Gillard Government for bringing in new federal assessments on the impacts of CSG and coal industry on groundwater without sufficient discussion.

He labelled the move a ‘knee-jerk reaction’ to pacify the greens’ concerns about the resources sector.

“Let there be no doubt that there is a concerted and co-ordinated campaign under way from the radical greens to attack, delay and halt any and every development proposal in the resources sector,” he said.

“We see it daily in Queensland where every proposal for development is portrayed as a threat that will lead to total destruction of the Great Barrier Reef.

“Not only is it claimed that LNG plants in Gladstone Harbour will kill the Reef, port development – wherever it is proposed – will kill the Reef. New mines hundreds of kilometres inland will kill the Reef and even ships carrying bauxite from the other side of the Cape will kill the Reef.”

A mining industry report warned CSG protests based on ‘myths’ could put a $150 billion investment bonanza at risk.

As miners find LNG supplies too expensive or are wearing out, they are increasingly turning to CSG.

But protestors are resisting this move in parts of Queensland and NSW, including the Greens, farmers and broadcaster Alan Jones.

BG Group Australia chairman Catherine Tanna made similar statements to Fisher and Seeney, saying thousands of jobs and billions of dollars of investment are at risk due to a small group of protesters who  ‘deliberately misinform’ the public.

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