Queensland Senator Glenn Lazarus will speak against coal seam gas at a community forum at Chinchilla on Saturday after visiting an impacted farmer there on Friday.
A newly-formed advocacy group for landholders, Landholders ASCERT, has teamed up with community group, Bridging the Divide to host the all-day symposium to help locals continue the fight against the invasive mining.
At a Senate Inquiry public hearing at Toowoomba last week, Senator Lazarus and the other committee members heard harrowing details from farmers and landholders who have felt bullied by mining companies and ignored by politicians.
“The people of Queensland deserve better,” Senator Lazarus said after the hearing. “The Senate Inquiry is covering serious issues regarding questionable project approval processes by the former Newman Government including big donations by mining companies to the Federal Liberal Party and the Queensland LNP.
“It’s very disappointing that Abbott Government Senators have refused to attend the last two hearings in Brisbane and Toowoomba. Common and disturbing themes are emerging from the Senate Inquiry which need to be urgently addressed in relation to CSG mining.
"We need a Royal Commission into the human impact of mining on Queenslanders, particularly from coal seam gas mining.
"Landowners have lost all rights to say no to mining on their property. Water is being contaminated. Groundwater levels and bores are drying up, the land is dying and people are getting sick. There are suggestions by experts that
fracking is causing earthquakes and serious geological disturbances in addition to other forms of environmental devastation.
"No further CSG project approvals should be granted until such time as a Royal Commission is completed and or leading scientists and relevant experts determine CSG mining to be safe.”
On Friday afternoon the Senator will visit a local farmer in the middle of a gasfield experiencing constant noise and vibrations in his home, noise from machinery on all night, inadequate rehabilitation of his land, damage to property, flaring lights and concrete structures build on his land without permission. The farmer and his family are suffering health problems they attribute to csg including sore eyes, film on his skin, headaches and a strange taste in their mouths.
Event organiser and Hopeland Community Sustainability Group (HSCG) spokesperson, Shay Dougall said locals were “hopeful” the newly-installed Labor Government would halt csg expansion until more was known about its side effects.
Mrs Dougall has written to the Premier, Annastacia Palaszczuk and ministers outlining serious problems in the region. “Decisions of former governments have created coal seam gas refugees in our towns and communities,” she said.
“The current government must right the litany of wrongs of previous administrations and it is incumbent on this government to at least halt further activity until reasonable and honest assessments can be undertaken.”
Other speakers at Saturday’s symposium will include Lock the Gate’s Drew Hutton who will speak on government corruption and farmers’ rights , Lee McNicholl (biosecurity), Dr Geralyn McCarron (health impacts), Mariann Lloyd-Smith (toxicology) and Rev. Graham Slaughter (social issues).