Labor calls for independent inquiry into CSG mining in Gloucester


The NSW Labor Opposition has called for a full and independent inquiry following the latest revelation that AGL has detected banned BTEX chemicals in flowback water from two of the wells and in an above-ground water storage tank at its Gloucester CSG mining site. 

“This woebegone episode is a perfect demonstration why NSW needs an urgent moratorium on coal seam gas activity – including Gloucester. Only Labor will implement that moratorium,” said NSW Opposition Leader Luke Foley.

“AGL has been allowed to wander off the reservation because of lax Baird Government oversight. Clearly, the company’s disclosures have been less than forthcoming – but the regulator has gone missing when it should have been nipping at its heels.

“Just last week, the Baird Government rubberstamped AGL discharging flowback water from its fracking activities into the Hunter sewage network. We now need rigorous analysis to establish whether BTEX contaminant has reached there.

“A full and independent inquiry is needed into AGL’s conduct at Gloucester. Given its chequered record, the Baird Government must allow its own actions to be scrutinised in that inquiry.”

Shadow Minister for Energy & Climate Change Adam Searle said that the Liberals and Nationals had failed time and time again to protect local communities from an out of control CSG industry.

“Only a Labor Government has a plan to protect water, agricultural land and communities from an industry that still has a long way to go to prove it can operate safely and with the full confidence of the community and government.” Mr Searle said.

Under Labor’s for plan for CSG, we will:

1. Rule out CSG in defined no go zones, including defined water catchment areas, the Northern Rivers of NSW, and key areas such as national parks and residential areas;

2. Impose a moratorium across the state and not lift it until the industry is proven to be safe, until we have mapped the aquifers, until we understand the impacts that have been highlighted by Chief Scientist in her report – this work needs to happen BEFORE CSG is allowed to proceed; and

3. Protect gas prices by advocating for a national gas reservation policy.