Western Downs’ local, Shay Dougall took a busload of university students and a Tasmanian researcher on an eye-opening tour yesterday to give them some first-hand experience of the realities of living in the gasfields.
Mrs Dougall, spokesperson for the Hopeland Community Sustainability Group, said she wanted the leaders of tomorrow to realise the true impacts of the “invasion” of coal seam gas (CSG)
She told the 31 students from the Queensland University of Technology (QUT) and the researcher from Frack Free Tas about the health impacts locals were suffering and their worries about loss of farming land, clean water and air and the impacts on their lifestyle.
“We are living in the middle of gasfields and locals are slowly going crazy living with this day-in, day-out,” she said.
“There’s no certainty in their lives anymore and the stress is showing. The mining companies and the politicians just don’t seem to care. All they see are dollars signs.”
The group was particularly interested in the drive along Kumbarilla Lane and the damage throughout the Braemar State Forest, between Tara and Dalby.
“The students had just been discussing CSG activity in the State Forest with a QGC representative who told them that there was nothing to see there and that they would have to trouble finding any sign of CSG infrastructure,” Mrs Dougall said.
“But within seconds of driving into the forest the impact is obvious with wells, fenced infrastructure, widened roads, access ways and rows of felled trees.”
Carly Rusden from Frack Free Tasmania and a University of Tasmania student has been touring impacted regions of NSW and Queensland since June 26 with Tasmanian cattle farmer, Brett Hall.
The Tasmania State Government in February extended its moratorium on fracking for a further five years.
"I wanted to experience the gasfields for myself so I could see the impacts first-hand, to gain an insight and a perspective that would help me deliver the truth back to Tasmanians about just what it really takes to live with CSG, and to fight it, and how important it is to pull together as a community,” Ms Rusden said.