Questions put to council candidates

EVERY candidate standing for local council across Moree, Narrabri, Coonamble, Gunnedah and Armidale Local Government areas have been asked to state their position on coal and coal seam gas in the lead-up to local council elections on September 8.
Nanjing Night Net

Questions have been put to each candidate in response to mounting community concern surrounding the scale and speed of inappropriate coal and gas mining in the north west region.

“We believe it is important that the community has good information on how local candidates will vote and what stand they will take on coal and gas mining if they are elected to council,” said Penny Blatchford of Bellata.

“We need to know which candidates are going to represent our community interests and protect productive agricultural areas, health and our natural environment from rapid coal and coal seam gas expansion.

“There is considerable concern in the community that the balance between mining, farming and community values has been lost. Who is going to bring back the balance to ensure a diverse and healthy future for our region?” asked Victoria Hamilton of Wee Waa.

“We hope to see candidates supporting ‘no-go’ zones for coal and gas exploration and mining in productive agricultural areas, important groundwater sources and in high conservation value lands,” said Carolyn Bishop of Mullaley.

“In Armidale we’ve asked candidates specifically whether they will support a full and proper community consultation process before any petroleum special prospecting application is issued on the Northern Tablelands,” said Bea Bleile of Armidale.

“Farmers, residents, business people and environmentalists from all across northwest NSW have a major stake in how candidates address mining if they are elected – so we intend to release the results of the questionnaire to the public prior to the elections next week,” said Anne Kennedy from Coonamble Shire.

Questions for candidates:

1. Will you vote to support a council motion calling for a moratorium on unconventional gas development until it can be scientifically proven that all adverse social and environmental impacts can be successfully avoided or mitigated?

2. Will you vote to support a council motion calling for a moratorium on any new coal mines or expansions until proper regional assessments have been completed of the full cumulative impacts?

3. Will you vote for council to refuse access to council controlled land for coal and unconventional gas exploration or mining activities?

4. Will you vote to support an independent study of the impacts of future coal or unconventional gas development on property values and on existing local industries such as agriculture and tourism?

5. Will you vote to support a proper health impact assessment into proposed coal and gas exploration and mining in the local area?

6. Will you vote to support ‘no-go’ zones for coal and gas exploration and mining in productive agricultural areas, important groundwater sources and high conservation value lands?

7. Will you vote to provide a consent role for local councils for coal and gas developments and full third party legal rights for the community?

8. Will you use council consultative processes to inform and consult communities widely about coal and gas proposals in the Local Government Area?

9. Will you publicly advocate for NSW and Federal Governments to implement the policy positions set out above?

Candidates can send their answers to Penny Blatchford or the Champion.

This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.