Rob Oakeshott's coal seam gas press releases
2012 - 2011 -
Water Trigger -
Gloucester BioRegion - Hunter Valley health
GLOUCESTER SECURES BIOREGIONAL STATUS
1 March 2012 - SCIENCE, and not mining royalties, will determine the future of
coal-seam gas and open cut coal mining in the Gloucester basin after the federal
government today identified the valley as a priority region for scientific
Independent Lyne MP Rob Oakeshott says the grassroots community campaign which
urged the government to include Gloucester on the bioregional priority list has
Today’s announcement, he said, comes at a crucial time as Gloucester Resources
Limited applies to operate an open cut mine just a few kilometres from town.
“This has been an intense campaign over a substantial period of time to get the
Commonwealth involved in what essentially has been a NSW Government planning
matter,” Mr Oakeshott said.
“The community had lost faith in the NSW approvals process so the best way to
restore that faith was to seek independent, scientific advice on the potential
risks to our water supply.
“Having secured a national agreement, and the creation of an expert scientific
committee on CSG, the next step was to get priority status for Gloucester so
that the community’s questions about possible ground and surface water
contamination can be thoroughly investigated.
“It was critical to get Gloucester on the list, not only because of increasing
mining company interest in the region but because the basin is part of the
Manning catchment and impacts on 50,000 water users downstream,” he said.
As a result of Mr Oakeshott and New England MP Tony Windsor’s negotiations on
the mining tax last November, the Commonwealth committed $150 million over four
years to support the work of the Independent Expert Scientific Committee.
further $50 million will be provided to those states which use the advice of the
committee in assessing CSG and coal mining applications.
“This is a sensible, practical approach to CSG assessments, where unbiased
research addresses the key scientific questions about the relationship between
CSG and water, free of influence from stakeholders and interest groups,” Mr
PM REFERS BIOREGIONAL ASSESSMENT REQUEST TO SCIENTIFIC
16 February 2012 - THE coal-seam gas concerns of Manning and Gloucester
residents have been raised directly with the Prime Minister of Australia and
referred to the recently established Interim Expert Scientific Committee on Coal
Seam Gas and Coal Mining.
Independent Lyne MP Rob Oakeshott hand-delivered a comprehensive letter from the
Manning Alliance to the Prime Minister this week, which outlined the potential
threat from coal-seam gas (CSG) mining to the environment, water catchments and
Mr Oakeshott said the Prime Minister understood the local community’s concerns
about the potential impacts of CSG and coal mining, and had referred his request
for the catchment to be identified as a research priority area to the Expert
“The scientific committee is undertaking a scoping study to determine priority
areas for regional water assessment, and our catchment is now part of that
review,” Mr Oakeshott said.
“Hopefully we will know in a couple of months if we’ve secured research priority
status, which would result in an evidence-based scientific report on any
possible threat to our waterways and groundwater.”
Meanwhile, Mr Oakeshott has welcomed the Queensland Government’s decision to
sign up to the new strengthened regulation of coal-seam gas and coal mining
developments, negotiated by Mr Oakeshott and New England Independent MP Tony
“The state MPs representing our region, Stephen Bromhead and Leslie Williams,
must convince the NSW Government to follow Queensland’s lead and sign up to the
National Partnership Agreement on Coal Seam Gas and Large Coal Mining,” Mr
“By doing so, the NSW Government will have access to the independent scientific
panel and its science-based research, as well as significant incentive payments
from the Commonwealth if it takes the committee’s advice into account in their
assessment and approvals decisions.
“It is important that Mid-North Coast communities find out the facts on
coal-seam gas and open cut mining.
“This is a transparent, evidence-based approach to the consideration and
regulation of the coal-seam gas industry, and will go a long way to restoring
the community’s faith in the state-based approvals process,” Mr Oakeshott said.
OAKESHOTT WANTS PRIORITY COAL-SEAM GAS ASSESSMENT FOR THE
23 January 2012 - THE federal government has been asked to identify the Manning
Valley as a priority region for scientific study into the impact of coal-seam
gas mining on the environment.
Lyne MP Rob Oakeshott, who with fellow Independent Tony Windsor secured tighter
control of coal-seam gas mining last November, has welcomed the appointment of
an Interim Expert Scientific Committee on Coal Seam Gas and Coal Mining.
The committee’s first task will be to identify priority areas for scientific
study so that decisions on coal-seam gas projects are based on independent,
objective, scientific evidence.
Mr Oakeshott has written to federal Environment Minister Tony Burke asking for
priority status to be given to the Manning Valley and the Gloucester Basin.
“There is significant community concern about the potential for coal-seam gas
wells to contaminate underground water, creeks and rivers throughout the
MidCoast Water and Hunter-Central Rivers Catchment,” Mr Oakeshott said.
“AGL’s 330 coal-seam gas wells in the Gloucester Valley were approved by the
state government without any consultation with the local water supply authority,
MidCoast Water, or with 50,000 downstream water users in the Manning who rely on
the catchment for clean drinking water.
“The Interim Committee’s role is to commission ‘no regrets’, independent,
unbiased research that addresses key scientific questions about the impact of
coal-seam gas mining on water and to make those findings public.
“Only then can the community be confident that all of the questions about
possible contamination and pollution have been thoroughly addressed, without any
influence from stakeholders or interest groups,” Mr Oakeshott said.
“The appointment of an interim committee is an early opportunity to have
Gloucester and the Manning considered as a priority area for this long overdue
The interim committee members are:
Chairman Craig Simmons, Professor of Hydrogeology at Flinders University and
Director of National Centre for Groundwater Research and Training;
Professor John Langford, a Fellow, Australian Academy of Technical Sciences and
Engineering, and a Fellow, Institution of Engineers, Australia;
Ms Jane Coram, a groundwater expert at Geoscience Australia and member of the
Expert Panel on Coal Seam Gas
Associate Professor David Laurence who has a PhD in Mining Engineering and is
the inaugural Director of the Australian Centre for Sustainable Mining
Professor Chris Moran, the Director of Sustainable Minerals Institute at the
University of Queensland; and
Emeritus Professor Peter G Flood, a geologist with 44 years’ experience in basin
studies and a member of the Australasian Institute of Mining and Metallurgy.
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