Northern suburbs declared CSG-free zone

An anti-coal seam gas group has declared two Illawarra suburbs CSG-free zones after a poll of residents.

Stop CSG Illawarra said volunteers had tried to contact every home in Wombarra and Scarborough over the past two months to survey residents about their views on CSG.

The overwhelming majority not only wanted their suburb to be CSG free, but also supported a ban on CSG development in drinking-water catchments and a "freeze" on the industry in NSW to investigate its impacts, it said.

"While a CSG licence has been granted in these suburbs and across the drinking-water catchment, the government has not asked communities what we want," Stop CSG Illawarra spokeswoman Jess Moore said.

"These results provide a very clear picture: a stop to CSG."

Of the 328 households the group approached in Wombarra, 211 responded, no-one was home at 104 on more than one occasion, and 13 said they were busy.

The group said more than 95 per cent of the people who took part wanted Wombarra to be CSG free, while 98 per cent wanted CSG banned in water catchments.

In Scarborough, of the 160 homes contacted, 82 responded, no-one was home at 63 and 15 were not interested.

The results showed 94 per cent supported becoming a CSG-free zone, 95 per cent supported a ban on CSG in drinking-water catchments and 93 per cent supported a freeze on the industry.

"Sometimes the industry claims we are a vocal minority, and this is utterly untrue," Ms Moore said.

Jess Moore (left) with Rachelle Balez and her mother Pol Balez in Wombarra. Picture: KIRK GILMOUR

Jess Moore (left) with Rachelle Balez and her mother Pol Balez in Wombarra. Picture: KIRK GILMOUR

"This kind of evidence should be prompting the government to listen to communities."

Stop CSG plans to complete a survey of Coledale homes this weekend, followed by Coalcliff, Clifton and Darkes Forest.

Ms Moore said the group had visited houses where no-one was at home at least twice and had left contact details.

The Department of Planning is now assessing Illawarra coal seam gas explorer Apex Energy's application to extend the timeframe for its 16-borehole exploration project around Darkes Forest and Maddens Plains.

The company has an exploration licence covering the northern Illawarra and has also applied to renew a second title covering large parts of suburban Wollongong and the escarpment.

The NSW government recently released its Strategic Regional Land Use Policy including new regulations for the CSG industry.


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