A State Government CSG officer has told concerned Queensland farmers that a report on a serious water bore explosion may remain confidential.
The water bore on a property at Hopeland, near Chinchilla on the Western Downs let out a loud bang last month (Nov. 20) and water and gas reportedly spouted metres into the sky.The leak continued the next day, leaving a left thin white crust around the bore, the eerie sound of gas rushing out of it and a side-to-side movement to the casing.
A team from the government’s Coal Seam Gas Compliance Unit investigated the incident and other private bores in the area are also recording gas flows.
Natural Resources and Mines Minister, Andrew Cripps told ABC radio on November 25 that it was too early to determine if CSG activities on neighbouring properties were a contributing factor to the bore’s destabilisation.
Mr Cripps said: “I will make sure, as the Government will, that once the investigation to determine the cause is finalised, the appropriate action is taken.”
But Shay Dougall, spokesperson of the Hopeland Community Sustainability Group said they are worried they won’t be told the results of the investigation and that any “appropriate action” would remain secret.
Mrs Dougall said 32 locals attended a meeting with the unit’s Groundwater Investigations and Assessment Team last week (Dec 17) to learn more about the impact CSG may be having on stock and domestic underground water resources.
“We were all stunned when we were told it was unlikely there would be any report written about the investigation into the bore explosion and if it were, it was unlikely to be made public,” she said.
“We’re shocked and disappointed with the lack of transparency from the government and CSG companies.
“Bores are the lifeblood of farming out here and we’re worried we’ll lose our livelihoods, homes and intergenerational farms.”
She said the government was “going out of its way to make things easy for mining companies by creating a “one-stop shop” and rushing through new laws, but it was making life almost impossible for farmers.
“We were told many times at the meeting ‘that’s not our department, you’ll have to ask another department about that’ and we’re sick to death of getting the run-around.”
Mrs Dougall said two clear messages came out of the meeting:
- CSG mining WILL impact farmers’ stock and domestic bores;
- Farmers should monitor their bores to ensure any impacts are identified early for action.
Lock the Gate Alliance president, Drew Hutton said locals needed to stick together to get any action from the government.
“Landowners and farmers should lock their gates to coal seam gas because the government and the mining companies can’t be trusted.
“If the government has nothing to hide about csg and this bore incident, then Minister Cripps must release the details of the investigation.”