The Country Women’s Association has passed a motion calling for a halt to any further “unconventional gas exploration” in NSW - a ban on Coal Seam Gas.
The motion was brought forward by Maules Creek Branch of the CWA , and was passed after a show of hands and then a count of numbers.
It flies in the face of last week’s announcement by NSW Nationals leader John Barilaro that he wanted to see an expansion of the CSG industry, with certain parameters, including that the Liverpool Plains should be cordoned off from any such exploration.
The Maules Creek branch said in their preamble to the motion that it was worried CSG mining divided communities and risked the health of rural children.
“The results of hosting unconventional gas on farms are properties are devalued, mortgages refused, insurance covers rejected, destroys families, divides communities, drains aquifers and turns land into dead zones, sick children, suicide and mental breakdowns”.
The motion was passed that “the policy of CWA of NSW shall be to support a ban on unconventional gas exploration, extraction and production”.
CWA NSW chief executive Danica Leys said the motion showed a majority of country women were concerned about the dangers of CSG mining on farm land.
Ms Leys said the CWA already had a policy on the right of refusal for CSG exploration on farms, signed two years ago. “The membership decided to take that one step further. They were concerned at potential damage to water resources and the land and social impacts. Our members don’t buy the current debate on gas that you have to increase supply to decrease the price. The vote was close and it had to go to numbers rather than a show of hands.”
The conference also called for greater controls to foreign ownership of farms.