MEMBER for Farrer Sussan Ley has given opponents of coal seam gas mining an assurance their concerns will be raised with shadow environment minister Greg Hunt.
Ms Ley reminded objectors the NSW government would ultimately determine whether coal seam gas mining would go ahead in the Corowa Shire with the NSW Aboriginal Lands Council recently applying for a petroleum exploration licence over 5000 square kilometres in the Oaklands basin.
A small contingent of protesters from local Landcare and climate groups met Ms Ley yesterday as part of a Lock the Gate campaign targeting all federal lower house members of parliament.
They will present their concerns to member for Indi Sophie Mirabella today.
The biggest concern of a successful application in the Corowa Shire is the loss of an estimated 20,000 litres per bore each day from coal seam gas mining activities.
They also claim water in the large aquifer, known as the Calivil Formation, which provides water for irrigation, stock and domestic uses in southern NSW and North East Victoria, could be contaminated.
Ms Ley said she aware of concerns about coal seam gas mining.
“You can’t live in the state of NSW and not understand the impacts of the proposals around coal seam gas,” she said.
“I would be delighted to take the message to the Federal Parliament.
“But the actual decisions about where coal seam gas is mined and the ongoing effect therefore on farmland and water table are entirely decisions of the NSW government.
“It is really important where major changes are made to land use people do have a say.
“If people don’t speak up sometimes the end result is something nobody is happy with.”
Protester Lizette Salmon said member for Albury Greg Aplin had already been made aware of their concerns.
Beechworth-based hydrogeologist Charlie Showers said coal seam gas mining was more than an environmental issue.
“It is an economic issue for our region,” he said.
“So much of our region both domestically and agriculturally relies on ground water for its ongoing sustainability.
“Coal seam gas mining in our region is a direct threat to the ongoing ability of our communities to have good water quality and quantity.”
Meanwhile, Corowa Landcare members will be leading a study tour of coal seam gas mining in northern NSW in a fortnight.