Blacktown family lends their support to coal seam gas protest

A Blacktown family will join about 100 people protesting against coal seam gas at a four-day national gas conference in Sydney from  Tuesday February 25.

Melinda Wilson from CSG Free Western Sydney will be accompanied by her daughters Serina, 10 and Crystal, 3, and son James, 8, at a protest at the Australian Domestic Gas Outlook Conference at Sheraton on the Park Hotel.

The conference will be attended by five state ministers, including Resources and Energy Minister Anthony Roberts, as well as international gas experts, leading industry executives and the heads of industry peak bodies.

Ms Wilson said anti-CSG groups would demand the government and industry listen to the community.

‘‘The protest will include poetry readings and have Aboriginal representatives from across NSW and spokespeople from community and environmental groups concerned about the spread of the unconventional gas industry,’’ she said.

‘‘We hope to bring awareness to the risks caused by the spread of the fast expanding unconventional gas industry.

‘‘The community blockages of coal seam gas drilling in the Pilliga demonstrate that this industry has no morals.

‘‘The push to extract coal seam gas has been painted as a ‘crisis response’ to looming shortage, but in reality companies are seeking to cash in on high global prices once new export facilities in Gladstone are completed.’’

She said Santos was fined $52,500 this month after it failed to report a 2011 leak  of 10,000 litres of contaminated water from a treatment plant.

‘‘But the government still approved another 20 drilling sites and Santos has plans for another 850 in the region.’’

A spokesman said the 2014 Australian Domestic Gas Outlook conference would explore future directions of Australia’s domestic gas sector.

He said five ministers, Australian and international gas leaders, CEOs from leading industry associations and industry stakeholders would discuss the future of domestic gas in Australia.

‘‘The event will also discuss pressing issues around the future role of gas in the domestic market,’’ he said.

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