Wollongong Mayor Gordon Bradbery is calling on the NSW government to do more to protect the Illawarra’s drinking water catchment from the unknown hazards of coal seam gas (CSG) mining.
Speaking at last night’s council meeting, Cr Bradbery urged councillors to support plans for himself and general manager David Farmer to seek a meeting with Premier Barry O’Farrell.
They want to request that the CSG exclusion zones be extended to include the Sydney drinking-water catchment.
On October 4, the state government moved to introduce laws prohibiting CSG development within two kilometres of a residential area. But Cr Bradbery said the laws did not go far enough.
‘‘We have stated, not only tonight but at previous council meetings, that we are against CSG extraction in the areas outlined,’’ he said.
‘‘This isn’t a criticism of the state government. We are just wanting the government to include the water catchment area in their [CSG policies].’’
‘‘It’s protecting one of our most important resources and that is our drinking water supply.’’
The motion was passed unanimously with an amendment that a copy of the council’s submission, as well as the evening’s resolution, be provided to upper- and lower-house MPs.
In August, the NSW opposition adopted a policy to ban CSG development in the Sydney drinking-water catchment.
This was welcomed by protest group Stop CSG Illawarra, who called on Mr O’Farrell to keep his pre-election promise that mining would not occur within drinking-water catchment areas.
‘‘The Premier has not kept this promise. CSG licences have been renewed and wells approved in drinking water catchments under the current government,’’ group spokeswoman Jess Moore said.
‘‘We demand the Coalition keep O’Farrell’s promise, follow suit and remember who they work for. ‘‘The legislation must change, and our communities will fight until it does.’’
The western half of the Wollongong LGA, about 350square kilometres in area, has been classified as a ‘‘special area’’ by the Sydney Drinking Water Catchment Authority.
Further amendments to the government’s CSG mining policy changes are on exhibition. Submissions close on November8.