COROWA Shire has reinforced its position on coal seam gas mining by placing a moratorium on exploration and seismic testing on all land under its care and control.
Coal seam gas has been on the council’s radar since an application by the NSW Aboriginal Land Council in 2012 for exploration within the shire.
Its application is being considered by the NSW Department of Trade and Investment.
Corowa mayor Fred Longmire has echoed concerns raised by the community regarding the impact of exploration activities on the shire’s valuable groundwater supply and the sustainability of key industries.
“The potential of groundwater and land contamination during the mining process is of major concern to the council and community members,” he said.
“They include proactive groups such as Corowa District Landcare.
“After experiencing severe drought, the rural areas of our shire are finally enjoying an increase in production.
“It has stimulated confidence and provided value-added opportunities.
“The outlook for the agriculture sector is positive.”
Cr Longmire said the groundwater source was critical to the prosperity of the regional economy and the environment.
“We cannot afford to take any risks with this,” he said.
The council is calling for a full assessment from the NSW government to determine the impact coal seam gas mining will have on the agriculture production and aquifers in the area.
In 2012, an application for a four-year exploration licence in the southern Riverina was lodged by Sydney company Energetica Resources.
It included land in the Corowa, Urana and Berrigan shires, but has since been withdrawn.
Corowa District Landcare will hold a public forum on August 28 at the Corowa Golf Club to learn more about coal seam gas.
“This is a big issue for us,” Cr Longmire said.
“We need to ensure people have all the facts they require to make an informed decision.”