ORANGE will become a coal seam gas free zone after Orange City Council approved a ban on the industry.
It will also put the idea forward to other Centroc councils in a wider bid to protect agriculture.
Although state government policy would allow a ban to be overridden, councillor Jeff Whitton put the motion forward to fight for water quality and the industries which rely on it.
“It’s a short-term industry and when they leave, they leave long-term after effects,” he said.
“We are leaders in protecting the quality of the water that’s under the ground and over the ground.
“We pride ourselves on being a food basket.”
He said coal seam gas mining in other areas could still affect Orange.
“It can be hundreds of miles away and still affect what we do in this city,” he said.
Cr Whitton said the approval process did not require councils to be consulted.
“We wouldn’t know about it and we wouldn’t have any say about it,” he said.
Councillor Neil Jones said it was an opportunity to send a message.
“Irrigated lands rely on groundwater - it’s essential to food security,” he said.
Councillor Russell Turner opposed the motion, saying by the time the two-kilometre residential exclusion zones were taken into account, virtually none of Orange was left.
“If there was coal under the ground, they wouldn’t be able to mine it anyway,” he said.
“Given we have no coal seam gas possibilities within our local government area, we should keep out - let other areas lobby the state government.”
Councillor Kevin Duffy moved to consult the NSW Association of Mining Related Councils as part of the motion.
The motion was passed, with councillors Turner and Scott Munro against.