ABC show causes stir over chemicals

FARMERS and environmentalists are up in arms after an ABC Four Corners report backed their claims for more transparency from the CSG to LNG companies.

The ABC's Four Corners program detailed farmers' concerns about the possible contamination of the Great Artesian Basin and CSG companies taking over their land.

The report quoted a chemical management specialist as saying chemicals linked to CSG production had not been evaluated by the national regulator.

Dr Mariann Lloyd-Smith, an adviser to the Federal Government's National Industrial Chemicals Notification and Assessment Scheme (NICNAS), also said environmental applications by the QGC contained out-of-date and deficient safety data.

John Hillier, a principal hydrologist for 13 years with the Queensland government, told the program he had concerns about the impact of the industry on the Great Artesian Basin.

The farm lobby group AgForce said yesterday a responsible balance must be struck between food production and resource extraction.

“The expansion of the CSG industry cannot come at the price of food, water and health,” AgForce president Brent Finlay said in a statement.

He said it was ironic to see Minister Stephen Robertson on the program, defending his department's decisions about the CSG industry on the same day the mining portfolio was taken from him in a cabinet reshuffle.

Mr Finlay said the new minister for mining, Stirling Hinchliffe, must immediately bring himself up to speed regarding regional and rural communities' concerns about CSG.

“We look forward to his leadership on ensuring the science behind CSG is right before any more resource extraction takes place,” he said.

Curtis Island resident Cheryl Watson said the Four Corners program highlighted the concern of the Gladstone community.

“The companies say they have these safeguards but from the program those safeguards are nonexistent,” Ms Watson said.

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