CSG investigation stalls talks

DISCUSSIONS with South Gippsland Shire Council regarding Coal Seam Gas exploration licences in Boolarra and Mirboo North are on hold pending Latrobe City Council’s independent report into CSG extraction implications.

Latrobe City Council officers have commissioned MWH Australia to identify potential issues and benefits of CSG extraction in the region, in a report anticipated to be released in November. 

Sustainable Boolarra community group and Mirboo North residents attended Monday night’s council meeting to voice their fears about licences issued in the region. 

One member of the group said residents were frightened of the potential loss of livability which would be a “sickening reality” if the community was not supported by governments to end CSG explorations in the region.

The Sustainable Boolarra member said the group would continue to “stand up to this issue” and ensure it did not “fall off the radar”.

In August, the State Government announced reforms which aim to strengthen CSG regulation and put a hold on hydraulic-fracturing until after the National Harmonised Framework for CSG was completed in December.

Currently there is no CSG production in Victoria, however 24 exploration licences have been issued over the past few years.

Boolarra, Mirboo North and Callignee residents have publicly voiced concerns over the fracking procedure and its dangers of potential water contamination, fire risk, damage to the environment and food production.

Councillors voted on Monday night to delay discussions with South Gippsland Shire until the MWH report was released in November.

A 62-signature strong petition, which requested council approach the State Government to ask for an exemption on CSG exploration in Callignee was also postponed on Monday night until council received the report.

MWH research team worked on council’s Positioning Latrobe City for a Low Carbon Emission Future in 2010 and Economic Sustainability Strategy 2011.