Wollongong City Council is set to lead the state's 23 mining-affected councils in a stronger stance against coal seam gas mining, with staff proposing councillors rule out exploration in drinking water catchment areas.
At this week's meeting, staff have recommended Wollongong councillors support the NSW Association of Mining Related Councils (AMRC) draft CSG policy, adding an additional point stating the councils do not support "exploration and/or production within drinking water catchments".
According to council staff, Wollongong's Deputy Lord Mayor Chris Connor - who was last year elected AMRC's deputy chair - was "instrumental" in drafting the policy.
The document, which is under consideration by the 22 other mining-related councils, highlights community concerns over the short and long-term environmental effects of CSG mining.
The policy also commends the NSW government for its progress in establishing planning and environmental safeguards, and extending exclusion zones for CSG mining.
The government has placed a moratorium on new CSG explorations pending a review of the industry by Chief Scientist Mary O'Kane, the findings of which the AMRC draft policy says should be released as soon as possible.
Wollongong councillors have spoken out against CSG exploration a number of times and voted to condemn exploratory coal seam gas drilling in the Illawarra's water catchment areas.