GROUNDSWELL Gloucester chair Julie Lyford has called on federal Lyne MP David Gillespie to come to town and tell the community firsthand about the health impacts of coal seam gas.
Speaking in Canberra where she met with several politicians last week, Mrs Lyford called on Dr Gillespie to respond to a report by the Medical Journal of Australia warning of health risks from coal seam gas (CSG) extraction.
“The Medical Journal of Australia (MJA) last week warned of the health impacts of coal seam gas, which has only fuelled community concerns about CSG industrialisation in the Gloucester Valley,” Ms Lyford said.
“The MJA said a review of available literature showed there was a considerable degree of uncertainty surrounding hydraulic fracturing and an emerging consensus about the health and environmental risks.
“It warned that the health burdens of gas are likely to fall disproportionately on rural communities, the young and the elderly.
“We would like Dr Gillespie as a medical practitioner to give us his personal assurance that our children will face no long term health consequences from the chemical cocktail involved in hydraulic fracturing and produced water.”
Dr Gillespie was not able to meet with Mrs Lyford during her Canberra visit, but has said he was happy to discuss any issues she would like to raise with him.
“Unfortunately, I was advised only last week by Ms Lyford that she was at Parliament House,” he said.
“While I would have been happy to meet with her, unfortunately, I wasn’t in a position to cancel and leave the various meetings that I had booked into my Canberra diary weeks and months ago.
“I have had a discussion with Ms Lyford since and advised her that next time she wishes to meet to please give me some advanced notice where we can lock a mutually agreeable time into our diaries and catch up for a cuppa to discuss her concerns and issues.”
Dr Gillespie said his views on coal seam gas and mining in general were unchanged.
“While most of the various planning approvals in relation to mining activities fall within the jurisdiction of the State, my view is and has always been that I do not support activities that destroy the overall health of our environment,” he said.
“I don’t support activities that do not respect the rights of farmers and if mining companies wish to utilise farmer’s land they should adequately compensate them.
“Both the federal Agriculture Minister Barnaby Joyce and I have conveyed this view to our State colleagues.”