Coal seam gas drilling poses clear and present risks to the integrity of our State’s drinking water. It has the potential to damage aquifers, interfere with fragile marine life and compromise our food basin.
Labor supports an immediate moratorium on this industry. We would suspend all coal seam gas exploration licenses and cease issuing extraction licenses.
Too many political parties have rushed ahead of the community on this issue – and now it is time to listen. The coal seam gas industry in NSW simply does not have the social license to proceed – especially in the absence of further scientific evidence to clarify its effects on the environment.
Labor also supports a permanent ban on coal seam gas activity in the core water catchment areas of Sydney and the Illawarra.
The Sydney water catchment consists of Warragamba, Woronora, Upper Nepean, Blue Mountains and Shoalhaven. These supply drinking water to 60 per cent of the State’s population.
Within the water catchment, specials areas have been defined that are off limits to the public for activities like swimming and fishing. Yet incredibly, coal seam gas licenses – renewed by the O’Farrell Government as recently as March 2013 – still cover these areas.
Establishing an extra buffer around core drinking water catchments recognises that there are certain no-go zones where coal seam gas extraction should never be allowed – now and for all time.
Labor is committed to exploring similar protections in catchments right across NSW to protect the region’s environment, local industry, business and agricultural lands.