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Rural Queenslanders are ‘collateral damage’: QGC

The vice-president of one of Australia's biggest coal seam gas companies has reportedly told a resident of a rural residential estate being targeted for gas wells by his company that his community would be 'collateral damage.'

Brett Smith, senior vice-president in the BG Group that owns QGC, was meeting Michael Bretherick, a resident of the Tara residential estate and a member of the Western Downs Alliance, along with others from the company and from the state government.

Michael Bretherick suggested that, if the company were to take the initiative by ceasing their operations within the Tara estates, begin working on addressing earlier impacts upon residents and the local environment, with emphasis on air quality, noise monitoring, soil and water testing, this would avoid confrontation and defuse an already stressful situation.

Mr Smith replied to this that there would be be no moritorium and no buy-outs, no relocation of impacted residents and no cessation of existing operations such as seismic work.

Then Mr Smith reportedly added,  "With a project of this size there will be some collateral damage."

This meeting took place at Mr Bretherick's place on the Tara residential estate on Wednesday 31 August.

President of the Lock the Gate Alliance, Drew Hutton, said Mr Smith's use of the term 'collateral damage' unfortunately exemplified the company's attitude towards the people of the estates and to landowners generally.

"QGC and the Queensland government are prepared to accept that many people and the natural environment are going to be hurt in this mad coal seam gas rush," Mr Hutton said.

"Residents living in gas fields will suffer poor health and reduced amenity, few landowners will be able to sell their properties with gas on it. and the Great Artesian Basin could be seriously damaged for long periods of time.

"Brett Smith and Anna Bligh might think this collateral damage is acceptable, but many other Queenslanders would disagree."

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