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Coal Seam Gas


CALLS TO EXTEND CSG ACTIVITY BAN IN CATCHMENT AREAS TO THE STATE

November 13, 2013 - The New South Wales Irrigators Council is calling on the state government to extend a moratorium on CSG activity in Sydney’s drinking water catchments to a state-wide ban.

The temporary ban covers so-called ‘Special Areas’ of Sydney’s drinking water catchments around Wollongong and the Blue Mountains National Park.

The moratorium has been mostly welcomed by the New South Wales Irrigators Council, however CEO Andrew Gregson says it must be extended state-wide.

“If water catchments are important enough in Sydney for a moratorium, then clearly it’s important statewide.”

_________________________________________

The following media release by the NSW Irrigator's Council is published in full

CSG Water Catchment Ban

13 November 2013 - NSW Irrigators - The New South Wales Irrigators Council has welcomed an announcement by the NSW Government that it will introduce a moratorium on CSG activity in drinking water catchments, but says it must be extended state-wide immediately.

Council Chief Executive Officer Andrew Gregson says it would be unthinkable for the Government to argue some drinking water catchments were more important than others.

"We're very pleased to see the Government recognise the potential impacts of coal seam gas activity on water. This announcement finally shifts momentum to the sensible position of ensuring water resources - both drinking and agricultural - are of paramount importance.

"There's a long way to go, however.

"Surely the Government won't be arguing that water in Sydney is more important that water in regional New South Wales? Surely they won't argue that representations from their MPs in Sydney were better than those of regional and rural MPs?

Mr Gregson says he understand that the NSW Nationals will be approaching Minister Hartcher on the matter immediately.

"Minister Hartcher needs to listen closely to his Coalition colleagues. They'll tell him that the location of a water resource is irrelevant. They'll tell him that the water supply in rural and regional NSW is equally as important as it is in Sydney. They'll remind him that it is the job of the Government to represent the entire state.

"We'll look forward to the Government announcing immediately that their very sensible moratorium will be extended statewide."

Andrew Gregson
_________________________________________

The following media release by the NSW Irrigator's Council is published in full

Water Users Offer to Break CSG Deadlock

4 October 2013 - NSW Irrigators - Cotton Australia and the New South Wales Irrigators Council are seeking a meeting with Premier Barry O'Farrell to offer solutions on coal seam gas in the State.

Irrigators Council Chief Executive Officer Andrew Gregson says that agricultural water users were greatly disappointed with new planning structures announced this week, but that solutions remain available.

"In a meeting earlier this year, the Premier asked us to come up with solutions and to keep talking to them. Whilst the process announced this week simply isn't acceptable, we have developed solutions and we don't believe it is too late to incorporate them.

Sahil Prasad, Policy Officer for Coal Seam Gas and Mining at Cotton Australia, says significant exclusions zone have been established in the newly released process but that they don't apply to agricultural water users in the main.

"If you live in a town, breed horses or grow wine in the Hunter Valley, the new process has catered to at least some of your demands. If you irrigate crops across NSW, though, you're still faced with significant problems from mines and gas.

The groups are seeking comprehensive baseline data on water and soil; critical industry cluster status for irrigation farms; and fulfilment of an election commitment to introduce a binding Aquifer Interference Regulation providing capacity for the Minister for Water to protect water resources absolutely.

A three page position paper (here) from NSWIC provides further details.

"We recognise a need for the NSW Government to balance competing demands. We believe that our three requirements will provide a strong, sustainable and fair basis for agriculture, mining and gas to move forward. At the same time, we'll offer the Premier a compromise in the meeting - accept any two and we can all move forward,"

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Balancing Mining, Coal Seam Gas and Irrigation

2 October 2013 - NSW Irrigators - As the NSW Government closes in on a final structure for regulating mining and coal seam gas in the State, the New South Wales Irrigators Council has released a position paper that outlines the moves it says are necessary to ensure balance.

Council Chief Executive Officer Andrew Gregson says that they have been working at the detail level with industry and government for two years with significant gains being made, but that the time has come to set the bar on the big issues.

"We've consistently advocated a structure in which mining, coal seam gas and irrigation can coexist - where water resources are protected and mining and gas can develop.

"The level of detail and engagement over the past couple of years has been good. We've made some concessions, the government has made some concessions and so has the industry.

"As we now close in on the final structure, though, it is time to return to the headline issues. From our perspective, those are; detailed baseline data; making the aquifer interference policy a binding regulation giving control of water to the Water Minister; and extending critical industry cluster protection to all irrigation farms.

The three page position paper (here) notes that the Council has called on the Government to adopt all three requirements, but that it is prepared to accept any two.

"We recognise a need for the NSW Government to balance competing demands. We believe that our three requirements will provide a strong, sustainable and fair basis for agriculture, mining and gas to move forward. At the same time, we're prepared to accept any two of them as the basis for coexistence."

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