Council decisions relating to coal seam gas mining

On December 13 2011 Council placed a moratorium on all coal seam gas (CSG) activity, including seismic testing, drilling and associated activity, on Council-owned and operated land.

Council first made a resolution in relation to this matter in December 2010 when it was resolved that Council unreservedly supported the NSW Farmers' Association's moratorium on all CSG mining in NSW.

A timeline of Council actions from when it was first debated up to the most recent resolution in relation to CSG is outlined below. Any further developments will be updated on this page.
 

COUNCIL RESOLUTIONS

14 December 2010
Council resolves to:

1. Unreservedly support the request of the NSW Farmers Association for a moratorium on all coal seam gas (CSG) mining in NSW.

2. Write to the Premier and the Minister for Environment Climate Change and Water as well as the Leader of the Opposition and the Shadow Minister for the Environment, Local Member to strongly urge a moratorium on CSG mining and particularly the practice of hydraulic fracturing in NSW until an extensive and independent environmental impact statement has been concluded on the effects of CSG mining on the environment and in particular the effects of CSG mining on groundwater.

3. Write to the Prime Minister, Federal Minister for the Environment and the Local Federal Member as in point 2.

12 January 2011
Council sends a series of letters to recipients outlined in the December 2010 Council meeting resolution.

17 August 2011
Council staff receive an application to carry out non-invasive seismic data acquisition work within the road reserve of Bungabee, Rock Valley and Chelmsford Roads from Metgasco Ltd. Consent was granted on September 1.

21 September 2011
The Mayor and General Manager make a submission to the General Purpose Standing Committee No.5 Inquiry into CSG at a hearing held in Alstonville, advising of the Council resolution of December 2010 supporting the NSW Farmers Association moratorium on CSG mining in NSW.

8 November 2011
A ‘matter of urgency’ is raised in relation to CSG mining on Council land. Council resolves that pending further guidelines from the state and federal government, any application made to Council for testing or exploration for CSG or minerals on Council-owned or administered land be reported to Council.

10 November 2011
In response to the ‘matter of urgency’ resolution, staff withdraw permission given to Metgasco to conduct seismic data acquisition work within the road reserve of Bungabee, Rock Valley and Chelmsford Roads, and request that Metgasco resubmit the application for the consideration of Council.

24 November 2011
Mayor and staff meet with Metgasco representatives. The Mayor expresses the concerns of Council and the community in relation to CSG. Metgasco provided additional information regarding the proposed work. The relevant Review of Environmental Factors is forwarded to Council (see related documents below).

13 December 2011
Councillors receive a letter from Metgasco Managing Director and CEO, Peter Henderson, resubmitting the request to undertake seismic data acquisition work at Bungabee, Rock Valley and Chelmsford Roads for Council consideration.

13 December 2011
Council debates the staff report made to the December Council meeting regarding the Metgasco application and resolves to:

1. Refuse access to Metgasco and any other companies for any coal seam gas operations seismic testing, drilling and associated activities on Council-owned and operated land.

2. Impose a moratorium on all coal seam gas on Council-owned and operated land.

3. Further investigate Council's options by obtaining a second legal opinion from a legal firm with experience in the relevant areas.

4. Seek further legal advice from a senior barrister within three months from 19 October 2011.

5. Host a confidential Councillor briefing on CSG in February/March inviting a representative from the Australian Petroleum and Exploration Association and the NSW Government Department of Trade and Investment to address the briefing along with representatives from Rock Valley Gas Rangers group, Keerrong Valley Group, NSW farmers and Norco.

10 April 2012
Council resolves to:

1. Conduct a poll in conjunction with the local government elections to determine community support for a ban on CSG exploration and mining in our Local Government Area.

2. Inform the Division of Local Government, the Local Government and Shires Associations and NOROC councils of this intention.

3. Suggest to NOROC councils that each member Council might like to consider a similar poll.

4. Request staff to prepare a report on the preferred wording for a poll question and the information for both 'Yes' and 'No' cases.

12 June 2012
Council resolves the following poll question will be submitted to the NSW Electoral Commission to be asked in conjunction with the 2012 local government election:

"Do you support coal seam gas (CSG) exploration and production in the Lismore City Council area?" 

And that:

The Yes/No case be approved by the General Manager prior to submission to the NSW Electoral Commission.

8 September 2012
As part of the 2012 local government election, Council asks the following poll question:

Do you support coal seam gas (CSG) exploration and production in the Lismore City Council area?

The results are as follows:

  • Yes with 3270 votes received, which is 13.14% of votes.
  • No with 21,608 votes received, which is 86.86% of votes.

9 October 2012
Council resolves to write to the NSW Premier; NSW Minister for Planning; Federal Minister for Sustainability, Environment, Water, Population and Communities; Don Page, NSW Minister for Local Government and the North Coast; Ms Janelle Saffin, Member for Page; Ms Justine Elliott, Member for Richmond; and Mr Thomas George, MLA for Lismore, to:

1. Inform them of the results of the recent poll on CSG.

2. Inform them of the growing numbers of communities that are declaring their roads to be CSG Free.

3. Provide the timeline of Council decisions on CSG over the past two years.

4. Urge Ministers and MPs to take steps to prevent CSG activity in our LGA.

A further resolution is passed to write to the NSW Premier; NSW Minister for Planning; Federal Minister for Sustainability, Environment, Water, Population and Communities; NSW Minister for Local Government and the North Coast, Don Page; Page MP Janelle Saffin; and Lismore MLA Thomas George to express on behalf of Lismore deep concern over the recently introduced Strategic Regional Land Use package consisting of:

  • The Strategic Regional Land Use Plan – New England North West;
  • The Strategic Regional Land Use Plan – Upper Hunter;
  • The Aquifer Interference Policy; and
  • Two CSG specific codes of practice: the Code of Practice for Coal Seam Gas – Well Integrity and the Code of Practice for Coal Seam Gas – Fracture Stimulation Activities.

Council will also state in the correspondence that: “The Policy package is totally in conflict with the election poll of Lismore voters who voted 87% against the question 'Do you support coal seam gas (CSG) exploitation and production in the Lismore City Council area?' Council requests that the state government respects the views of the community and revokes all licenses for exploration and production from the Lismore City Local Government Area.”

13 November 2012
A motion is moved to organise a field trip to the Queensland gasfields to find out first-hand impacts of CSG on the local economy and environment. The motion also calls for Council to discuss combining the trip with Richmond Valley Council and pay for costs from the Councillors' Professional Development Fund. The motion is unsuccessful.

11 December 2012
Council resolves to hold a briefing to establish the costs and wording of signs to be placed at the gateways to Lismore, including the airport, reflecting the wishes of 86.86% of local residents opposed to CSG mining in the LGA.

Council resolves to approach the Northern NSW Local Health District to request that it carry out a Health Impact Assessment on the possible impacts of CSG production on local residents.

Council resolves to ask the Northern Rivers Regional Organisation of Councils (NOROC) to investigate the benefits of jointly funding research with Southern Cross University on baseline data collection on pre-CSG groundwater, with a view to providing $30,000 a year for three years to match available Australian Research Council funding.

10 December 2013
Council resolves to write to the NSW Premier, Minister for Planning and Lismore MP Thomas George, expressing concern with proposed amendments to Section 72 of the Petroleum (Onshore) Act and Section 31 of the Mining Act that would prevent councils from stopping seismic surveys on their roads and landholders from refusing access for testing on their lands.

11 March 2014
Council resolves to write to the NSW Minister for Planning and Infrastructure, the NSW Premier and Lismore MP Thomas George requesting that the macadamia, dairy and beef industries of the Lismore Local Government Area be given critical industry cluster status to protect our economy and environment from unconventional gas mining.

11 May 2014
Council resolves to inform the NSW Premier, Lismore MP Thomas George, Ballina MP Don Page, Clarence MP Chris Gulaptis, the NSW Office of Water and the Minister for Resources and Energy of the specific areas Rous Water has identified as potential future groundwater sources for the Lismore, Ballina, Richmond Valley and Byron local government areas and to request the NSW Government ban any exploratory or production unconventional gas wells in areas that may contaminate underground water sources that could be required for the future water needs of Rous Water consumers.

10 June 2014
Council resolves to write to the Premier, the Minister for Resources and Energy, the Minister for Planning and Environment and state members of parliament calling for the withdrawal of all Petroleum Exploration Licences from our local government area and that our Council be declared a 'No Go Zone' for all gas mining.

8 July 2014
Council resolves its voting delegates to the 2014 Local Government Association NSW Conference be Councillors Simon Clough, Glenys Ritchie and Neil Marks. Council further resolves that the following motion be submitted to the conference:

That Council ask the NSW State Government to:

1. Declare ‘no-go zones’ for mining and gas in our drinking water catchments and to protect our rivers, streams, wetlands and groundwater.

2. Declare ‘no-go zones’ for mining and gas on our productive farmland and in areas where it will have a negative impact on local business.

3. declare ‘no-go zones’ for mining and gas development in our iconic wild places, conservation areas, state forests and travelling stock routes.

4. Set strong limits on air, noise, water and carbon pollution from coal and gas developments.

5. Give landowners and local councils the right to refuse access to mining companies and restoring the legal right for the community to appeal mining approvals in the courts.

6. Put in place and independent, transparent and rigorous assessment of mining and gas projects and strengthen monitoring of existing operations and penalties for breaches.

13 October 2015
Council resolves to reaffirm part of its resolution of 13 December 2011 to:

1. Refuse access to Metgasco and any other companies for any coal seam gas operations, seismic testing, drilling and associated activities on Council-owned and operated land.

2.  Impose a moratorium on all coal seam gas on Council-owned and operated land.

And

3. That Council take whatever legal action necessary in consultation with Councillors to prevent Metgasco and any other exploration company from carrying out seismic testing on any of its roads that qualify as an improvement under s72 of the Petroleum (Onshore) Act 1991 (NSW), and under s138 of the Roads Act 1993 (NSW).

4.  That Council immediately contact the Premier, the Minister for Industry, Resources and Energy, and local member Mr Thomas George requesting that the government intervene to prevent seismic testing and to protect the region from unconventional gas mining. For as the Premier said last week there is no social licence for unconventional gas in the Northern Rivers.

12 April 2016
Council resolves to totally reject the reference made on page 28, Direction 1.5 of the Draft Far North Coast Regional Plan that proposes that “the Clarence-Moreton Basin … coal seam gas resources may be able to support the development and growth of new industries and provide economic benefits to the region”.

Lismore City Council calls on the state government to declare the North Coast region: A CSG/unconventional gas exclusion zone similar to those in the Hunter protecting the wine and horse training industries.

Further, that Lismore City Council contacts all local Councils in the Northern Rivers seeking their support in our stand and that Council write to Mr Thomas George, the Minister for Planning and Environment, the Minister for Trade and Industry and the Premier expressing Council’s rejection of this proposal.

The content of the motion become part of the Council's submission to the state government.

 

CORRESPONDENCE AND DOCUMENTS

Letter to NSW Premier supporting moratorium on CSG as a result of Council's December 2010 resolution

Submission to General Purpose Standing Committee No. 5 Inquiry into CSG

Review of Environmental Factors Metgasco Ltd 2010 Met10 Casino-Grafton Seismic Program Clarence-Moreton Basin NSW