Lock the Gate president warns against CSG regulator confusing industry enforcement with facilitation

Published: September 15, 2011

The main organisation campaigning for protection of rural Queensland from the potential impacts of coal seam gas mining has warned the Queensland government its unit enforcing regulation of the newly-emerging coal seam gas industry risks confusing its enforcement role with an industry facilitation one.

The head of Queensland's LNG enforcement Unit, Andrew Brier, talked on ABC radio this morning of the need to "quash the noise" being made by the Lock the Gate Alliance, saying it was drowning out the valid voices of landowners who were happy with the coal seam gas industry.

Brier also praised the coal seam gas industry for its current pro-CSG advertising campaign.

Lock the Gate Alliance president, Drew Hutton, said these were not appropriate comments for Mr Brier to be making publicly.

"Andrew Brier is a public servant given the job of enforcing the conditions of these companies' environmental authorities and he is part of the Department of Environment and Resource Management," Mr Hutton said.

"He is not an advocate for the industry and his department has no brief to try to persuade Queenslanders that this is an industry that is good for the state.

"He should leave that job to the Premier or Mines Minister who are doing a very energetic job trying to persuade us that this is a low-risk industry that will bring us all pots of gold."

Mr Hutton said his organisation was not opposed to the industry itself but to the fact that its approvals had been rushed through without proper scrutiny and he wanteda moratorium until important protections were put in place to ensure the sustainability of its operations.

These included no CSG on good farm land, in areas where there were vulnerable underground water systems, in closely settled areas and in environmentally sensitive areas. He also called for landholders to be able to refuse CSG companies access to their properties.

"Our arguments are supported by a majority of Queenslanders and it is Mr Brier's claims that he can keep this industry under control that receive most scepticism, not mine," Mr Hutton said.

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