AGRICULTURE will suffer from the coal seam gas mining boom, NSW Greens MP Jeremy Buckingham has warned.
Mr Buckingham’s comments come after he instigated an upper house inquiry into the CSG industry that is predicted to triple over the next 20 years.
“I don’t think the case has been made that CSG mining and agriculture can co-exist,” he said.
Mr Buckingham called for the inquiry following concerns coal seam gas mining would contaminate and use a large amount of ground water, create carbon emissions, and threaten the state’s food security
A total of 5000 gas wells are predicted to be created in the state in the next two decades.
Federal Member for Calare and shadow minister for agriculture John Cobb said ground water and farmers’ rights needed to be protected before the boom.
“It can’t work if water is not protected, and at the end of the day the farmer has to get something out of it given the intrusive nature of coal seam gas mining and exploration,” he said.
Mr Cobb said he supported nurturing both the agricultural and mining sectors.
He commended the state government’s efforts in attempting to address both industries’ concerns.
While the state government’s submission to the inquiry says it is working to find a harmonious balance between the mining, agriculture and environmental sectors, Mr Cobb believes it will be hard to keep everyone happy.
“The state government is moving down the right path, (but) it’s not easy for anyone to deal, but we have to have both.”