Latest campaign: Stop coal seam gas

Posted by
16th August 2011

Dear Toby,

Stuart’s family has been getting sick. Since the gas wells were drilled near their family farm, life hasn’t been the same. The noise from the pumps and drills make it hard to sleep. They are worried about the land too, having heard what has happened to water supplies in other places where coal seam gas mining has occurred.

Coal seam gas is a relatively new form of mining, but it’s spreading like a cancer across the eastern seaboard, with over 700 new wells a year in Queensland alone. Huge amounts of water are removed from natural aquifers to force gas out of the ground, then pumped back into the earth filled with industrial contaminants. Gas can escape, contaminating water supplies. People get sick. Agricultural land and water supply is spoiled. And once an aquifer is contaminated there is no known way to fix it. (See footnotes 1 – 5.)

Last night the community hall here in Lynches Creek, QLD, was full of residents from the Northern Rivers in NSW who had driven up to hear from locals in Queensland who have already experienced firsthand the devastating impacts of gas mining. The hall was packed, the atmosphere tense. People here are scared and angry, and they are organising to stand up for their land, the environment and their communities.

Locals here are calling on the Federal Government to stop coal seam gas expanding — at least until they research and regulate the practice. But this is an issue of national importance — and only together can we stand up to the powerful mining interests who want to expand unchecked. Can you sign the petition and stand in solidarity with the people who are under threat from this out-of-control industry?

Earlier this week Tony Abbott announced that he would support giving farmers the right to stop mining on their property. But within hours he changed his mind, and now says the issue should be left to state governments.

We can’t let other politicians back away from this important national issue. If Australians from right across the country show our concern, we can prove to the Government that this is an issue of national concern — and we expect them to act. Let’s call on Health Minister Nicola Roxon, Environment Minister Tony Burke and Agriculture Minister Joe Ludwig to step in and protect our farmland, water, health and communities.

Coal seam gas mining in Australia has expanded faster than it can be regulated. The industry is without safeguards in place to protect the livelihoods of communities, the quality of our water, and the sustainability of the farmland. With coal seam gas reserves right across our country, it’s not just those next to the wells who have to be concerned.

No-one is taking responsibility for the long-term impacts of coal seam gas mining. The State and Federal Governments are playing political football with livelihoods – handballing the issue because it’s too hard to deal with. With the States failing to adequately control this industry, we need the federal government to act. Our nation’s food, water and health are at stake; let’s tell the Government to halt the expansion of coal seam gas mining:

The community is mobilising – neighbours are uniting to fight the expansion of coal seam gas in their community. A group of concerned residents collected over 300 signatures for a petition in just one day outside the local supermarket. Landowners are ‘locking the gate’ to stop the industry getting access to their property. Day in day out, they are doing what they can to stand up to this enormous industry.

Now it’s our turn to step up and back these communities. Our movement can bring the passion from the town halls into the halls of Parliament. Add your name to the petition calling for an end to coal seam gas mining before it’s too late.

With hope,

Paul, Justine, Simon DW and the GetUp team.

PS – Over the next few days and weeks we’ll be travelling around NSW and Queensland meeting communities on the frontline of the coal seam gas industry expansion. Let’s stand with them in and show the federal government that this is an issue of national
importance. Sign the petition here:

1 Parliament of Australia Parliamentary Library Background Note: The development of Australia’s coal seam gas resources Date 28 July 2011
2 National Water Commission, December 2010, The coal seam gas and water challenge: National Water Commission Position.
3 Dunn, Ross. Australian Petroleum Producers and Explorations Association on Lateline 02/08/2011 Coal Seam Gas Debate.
4 Doctors for the Environment Australia, June 2011, Submission to the Rural Affairs and Transport References Committee Inquiry into management of the Murray Darling Basin – impact of mining coal seam gas.
5 Senator Heffernen questioning Mark McFarlane of Santos in Federal Senate Inquiry. ABC radio, August 9, 2011.
6 ABC News, Jeremy Thompson Abbott backtracks on coal seam comments Updated August 16, 2011

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  • Dallas

    There are a lot of reasons why this is wrong but for me I think it’s totally outrageous that anyone should have noise forced upon them on their own property – whether it’s drilling for gas, or windfarms etc.  People have the right to sleep without disturbance and the Government should have to at the very least,  guarantee quiet and not invasive operation of equipment before it is forced upon home owners.

  • Jen

    Could Getup find out which Australian gas company’s are the worst offenders? I recently cancelled my home supply of gas with AGL sighting that I didn’t agree with their methods of coal seam gas exploration. If thousands of Australians started cancelling their accounts with the worst offenders, I’m sure we could get some action. It would be good to know which company/s has the cleanest record to change to?

  • Dallas

    This is a good idea Jen,  I recently changed from Country Energy to AGL for a similar reason but from what you’ve said, I’ve probably chosen the wrong company.  If there was a company available that didn’t invade farmers properties without permission I’d definitely change to them.

  • Jaime

    I think I want to vote for this campaign but I actually can’t tell what it is about.  The title says “Stop Coal Seam Gas”.  That sounds like a blanket ban to me.  The body text has nothing about that, instead putting forward the suggestion that better regulation and better control of expansion is needed.  I’m not sure whether you are saying that CSG mining is intrinsically risky for long-term environmental reasons, that mining companies have shoddy safety practices that need to be improved, that mining companies are inconsiderate in their treatment of locals, or that regulations on access to mining leases need to be changed.  Or all four. These are different issues with different solutions.

  • Philby

    Hi Dallas,

    Noise from drilling is one thing,  but wind farms?  I recently visited the 2 wind turbines operating in Daylesford Vic, and from more than about 3 to 400 metres away, you couldn’t hear a thing.  Closer than that it sounded like a jet plane at 30,000 feet – in other words, really minimal.

  • Chris Thompson

    I just received the “The new Gasland” email.
    usually think of GetUp as providing a healthy input into political
    debate. I would like to think that GetUp can provided factually correct
    and testable statements, rather than run campaigns that one might expect
    to find in the Murdoch press or on redneck radio.

    Instead, GetUp links the campaign with a film that stretches credibility.

    You use are emotive and hysterical language. The
    description “To force gas out of the ground, huge amounts of water are
    removed from natural aquifers, then pumped back into the earth filled
    with industrial contaminants” is factually incorrect, and shows a
    complete lack of understanding of the process of extracting the gas.
    Referencing the National Water Commission is commendable, but there is
    nothing in their document to support your statement.

    I agree that we should act with caution with coal
    seam gas extraction. We should be insisting on independent studies of the
    environmental and commercial farm issues. But to make factually incorrect emotive statements
    just makes it too easy for others to argue that you should be ignored.

    And please, as Jaime notes, pick on an identifiable issue – not just a broad brush NO. Is GetUp just turning into another Tony.

  • Silma Ihram

    I have been very disturbed by what I have read about fracking and its potential effect on water tables and underlying rock structures. I am also shocked that farmers can be prosecuted for refusing access to their properties, due to national control over everything a few metres below the top soil. The extent of coal seam gas exploration that is planned or already underway is also huge. As a concerned citizen I do not agree with giving miners a blank cheque to take whatever they want, and I want it stopped until a lot more information about implications for water tables, pollution, damage to farmland etc etc is clarified. Perhaps I am uninformed, but until we are all a lot more informed I think that the coal seam gas exploration should be halted. Aren’t we destroying enough of this planet and our own backyard already??

  • Chris Joyce

    Why are we focusing on the national government?  Why not,
    at least in the first instance focus on the governments that are actually
    responsible – the state governments.


    Why allow the Federal Tories to escape the issue by claiming
    “state issue”.  Then you have an irrelevant argument over states rights
    rather the real argument – the gaslands.


    This is critically and immediately an issue for NSW and
    Queensland communities, i.e. it is not really a national issue.  Not too
    many Tasmanians are worried, yet.  If NSW and Queensland are forced to
    back down, the states currently unaffected are unlikely to try. 


    When you have a petition for the state parliaments, I will sign




    Chris Joyce



  • Winston

    I am pleased that GetUp is involved in this issue. CSG needs a complete
    investigation about its procedures. Australian citizens should view the
    documentary “Gasland” and make up their own minds about the devastating
    possibilities of this technology. I think that most people would be utterly shocked
    at what it reveals.

  • Hollis aj

    Coal seam gas represents about 6% of gas production in Australia, most of which is sold to china for a couple of cents a litre. A slight increase in the general production would cover this 6%. Quensland water is being poisoned by the highly toxic waste Fluoride and Coal Seam Gas production. Is this standard blind one eyed government and corporate corruption or a deliberate act of attempted genicide. Look up agenda 21 it is looking more and more like our Governments and their banking and corporate masters are the real terrorists. 

  • Jessie

    I’d like to learn more about CSG and exactly what can go wrong, are you able to link to peer reviewed journal articles or scientific papers please?

  • Agatha281

    Hey Ted, dont let them pull the wool over your eyes mate,  the bottom line is this practice must be stopped.

  • Wendy



    The Green Thing

    In the line at the supermarket, the
    cashier told an older woman that she should bring her own grocery bags because
    plastic bags weren’t good for the environment.  

    The woman apologized to him and explained, “We didn’t have the green thing
    back in my day.”

    The clerk responded, “That’s our
    problem today.  Your generation did not care enough to save our

    He was right — our generation didn’t have the green thing in its day. 

    Back then, we returned milk bottles, soft drink bottles and beer bottles. They
    were then sent them back to the plant to be washed and sterilized and refilled,
    so it could use the same bottles over and over.  So they really were

    But we didn’t have the green thing back in our day. 

    We walked up stairs, because we didn’t have an escalator in every shop and
    office building. We walked to the grocery shop and didn’t climb into a
    300-horsepower machine every time we had to go two streets. 

    But she was right. We didn’t have the green thing in our day. 

    Back then, we washed the baby’s nappies because we didn’t have the throw-away
    kind.  We dried clothes on a line, not in an energy gobbling machine
    burning up 220 volts — wind and solar power really did dry the clothes. 
    Kids got hand-me-down clothes from their brothers or sisters, not always brand-new

    But that old lady is right; we didn’t have
    the green thing back in our day. 

    Back then, we had one TV, or radio, in the house — not a TV in every room. And
    the TV had a small screen (remember them?), not a screen the size of Tasmania. 

    In the kitchen, we blended and stirred by
    hand because we didn’t have electric machines to do everything for us. 

    When we packaged a fragile item to send in
    the mail, we used a wadded up old newspaper to cushion it, not Styrofoam or
    plastic bubble wrap.   

    Back then, we didn’t fire up an engine and
    burn fuel just to cut the lawn. We used a push mower that ran on human

    We exercised by working so we didn’t need
    to go to a health club to run on treadmills that operate on electricity. 

    But she’s right; we didn’t have the green thing back then.

    We drank water from a fountain when we
    were thirsty instead of using a cup or a plastic bottle every time we had a

    We refilled writing pens with ink instead
    of buying a new pen, and we replaced the razor blades in a razor instead of
    throwing away the whole razor just because the blade got dull. 

    But we didn’t have the green thing back then. 

    Back then, people took the bus and kids rode their bikes to school or walked
    instead of turning their mothers into a 24-hour taxi service. 

    We had one electrical outlet in a room,
    not an entire bank of sockets to power a dozen appliances.  And we didn’t
    need a computerized gadget to receive a signal beamed from satellites 2,000
    miles out in space in order to find the nearest pizza place. 

    But isn’t it sad the current generation laments how wasteful we older people
    were just because we didn’t have the green thing back then?

    Please forward this on to another selfish
    older person who needs a lesson in conservation from a youngster who thinks
    they know it all.

  • Captain8873

    I don`t get it,super rich energy companies know there is enough coal seam gas to extract without explosions to expedite the release(am not sure of the science,but could this be the cause of the harmful gases),maybe underground mining(using methods which cause little or no subsidance) and longhole drilling would be less destructive for farmers and just a little less profitable for the energy companies…..just an idea and maybe a balance to the situation….stopping the extraction of the gas is not good for Australia`s development(as long as they are Aussie companies)stopping the underground explosions is what you should be fighting for…….just a thought from a coal miners point of view……..

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