GWYDIR Shire Council will send a delegation on a fact-finding mission to Queensland in response to moves by a mysterious pop-up company to gauge the coal seam gas potential of the region.
The shire representatives will travel to the small town of Dalby in the Western Downs Regional Council area where the coal seam gas industry has been established for a number of years.
“We will meet with the Western Downs Regional Council mayor Ray Brown,” said Gwydir mayor John Coulton.
“He has a wealth of experience in this matter and he will show us around the Surat Basin so we can assess the situation for ourselves.”
An application by Trough Exploration, which was formed in October last year and has just $24 in share capital, to conduct “desk-top” studies on land to the west of Warialda and Bingara has sparked a flurry of activity from the council.
In April, Councillor Coulton and general manager Max Eastcott met with NSW Land and Water Commissioner Jock Laurie and staff from the NSW Office of Coal Seam Gas to grill them over the industry.
The council is also seeking to have some of the shire’s most productive farmland afforded greater protection from coal seam gas activities by having it formally declared of strategic value.
Trough Exploration’s target area, which spans some 1500sq/km, is believed to jut up against private land within the Moree Plains Shire Council boundary.
So concerned is Moree council about the potential environmental impacts of the industry, it has placed an indefinite moratorium on all such activities on council-owned property and roads.
“The coal seam gas industry hasn’t given us any reason to feel comfortable,” said Moree mayor Katrina Humphries.
“Until such time as we have proof it’s a good, safe industry we’re not interested.
“It concerns me greatly that we still have shelf companies with, evidently, limited capital out there looking at something as precious as drilling through our water aquifers.”