At its Ordinary Meeting of December 2011, Council adopted the following position on coal seam gas mining in the Manning River catchment.
“At this stage Greater Taree City Council does not have confidence that Coal Seam Gas (CSG) developments can be undertaken without causing unacceptable impacts on the local community and the environment. Current and future CSG approvals should not be allowed to proceed in our area until the environmental risks, as well as social and economic impacts, have been rigorously assessed and publicly reported at a local and regional level.
Under the current system each CSG development is considered separately. There is a need to introduce measures to address the cumulative impacts of CSG projects at a regional scale. In particular, the cumulative impacts on groundwater and surface water, resulting from multiple mining and CSG developments, should be considered during the decision making process.
There is an urgent need to pause on new CSG developments and allow sufficient resources and time for upfront strategic planning on a regional scale. An effective and well-resourced strategic land use planning process has to be established across the state specifically in regard to CSG industry development. It has to identify competing land uses, existing industry needs, environmental values and social needs, as well as identify CSG exclusion zones where appropriate. The planning process would enable the proper consideration of the cumulative impacts on a regional scale. The planning process must incorporate fair and effective community participation provisions. Future CSG developments and exploration proposals within our region need to be assessed within the context of such a plan.”