Attempt to rebrand CSG comical: activists

A human sign at the Stop CSG Illawarra protest at Bulli Showground in 2012.
A human sign at the Stop CSG Illawarra protest at Bulli Showground in 2012.

Stop CSG Illawarra has likened the state government's attempts to "rebrand" coal seam gas mining to a Monty Python skit, saying the move is "ridiculous".

In a leaked briefing document to Resources Minister Chris Hartcher titled "terminology usage for CSG communications", it is recommended that CSG be referred to as "natural gas from coal seams".

The document also asks NSW Trade and Investment to "where possible, remove CSG references".

Jess Moore, spokeswoman for Stop CSG Illawarra, said the name change simply showed the state government's true colours.

"The NSW government knows CSG drilling is so unpopular with the community," she said.

"But rather than do what the community is calling for, by banning CSG mining, it is just changing the words, it's ridiculous."

Ms Moore believes the proposal to insert "natural gas" in the reference is a direct attempt to capitalise on people's confusion about CSG mining.

"I think the government knows that people generally consider the word 'natural' to be positive so they're trying to tap into that but we know lots of natural things can be bad for us," she said.

"Our role now is to keep cutting through the government's attempts to bamboozle people and make it clear they are just changing the name."

A spokesman for Mr Hartcher said the state government had adopted the new reference, following the "Commonwealth's preference to use this terminology as part of a national harmonisation".

Stop CSG Illawarra claims the leaked document requests the new terminology be used by a host of government bodies, including the chief scientist.

"That reference just shows how deep this goes," Ms Moore said.

"The chief scientist is supposed to be independent and now the state government is trying to tell her what words she can use."

Mr Hartcher's spokeswoman said the office of the chief scientist was free to use any terminology.

The campaign against CSG drilling in the state's drinking water catchment ramps up next month as the NSW Parliament prepares to debate the issue on October 17.

Ms Moore said the group also expected to see a bill, put forward by state Labor, banning drilling in the catchment early next year.