Thousands sign anti-CSG petition

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Hunter Valley coal seam gas protestors yesterday presented a petition with thousands of signatures to the New South Wales parliament.

In handing over the 11,000 name petition Tyrrell’s Wines boss Bruce Tyrrell said he hoped the move would help put and end to CSG exploration in the Hunter.

Tyrrell said the Hunter Valley was NSW’s most popular tourist destination outside of Sydney.

He said the region had some of the oldest vines in the world, which were “assets that cannot be put at risk”.

“If we’ve got a CSG well head every 500 square metres along Broke Road our tourism industry is going to disappear very quickly,” he said.

Tyrrell said apart from tourism his other big concern was the effect CSG developments would have on the region’s water quality.

“My other concern that puts us under great pressure is there are 15 bores in our area, all with salt readings of 8,000 to 14,000 parts per million,” he said.

“Now if you tip that on your lawn, your lawn will die and it’ll stay dead.”

He said water of that quality would be brought up by CSG mining.

Tourism Minister and Upper Hunter MP George Souris accepted the petition and said it highlighted concerns he shared with the community.

But he would not be drawn on whether he supported a CSG ban in the Hunter, and said the issue was complex and needed to be “dealt with in a proper fashion”.

The Australian Petroleum Production and Exploration Association has previously said CSG developments pose little environmental impact.

It says CSG wells are cased with steel and cement to prevent contamination of soil or water.

It says the industry is spending tens of millions of dollars carrying out studies and assessments to ensure the industry is safe.

Because it reached over 10,000 signatures the petition is guaranteed to be debated in the State parliament.

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