“A powerful statement from Rivers SOS”

Southern Highland News
12 December, 2011

SOUTHERN Highlands representatives at the NSW Upper House Inquiry into coal seam gas (CSG) mining in Mittagong on Friday were overshadowed by a powerful statement from Rivers SOS.

Wingecarribee Council’s Larry Whipper and Scott Lee addressed the committee as did Peter Martin and Alan Lindsay from Southern Highlands Coal Action Group.

However, the witness who made the biggest impact at the hearing was Caroline Graham from Rivers SOS who received a rousing applause from the gallery.

Ms Graham spoke about the “white elephant” in the room being the “undue influence” that mining companies had over Australia’s political process.

She alluded to a recent statement by the former chief of the Environmental Protection Authority, Barry Carbon, who called Western Australia’s development approval system “corrupt”.

Mr Carbon told the Environment Institute of Australia and New Zealand that mining companies and other proponents were forced to make contributions, sometimes millions of dollars, to government agencies before approvals were even considered.

He said detailed environmental assessment reports, paid for by proponents, were not being read by bureaucrats because they were “too long” and that these problems “existed at commonwealth and state levels across most of the country”.

Ms Graham said there was a general “air of corruption” and “undue influence” happening in our consultancy processes.

“Consultants are writing favourable reports or removing items that the mining companies don’t like in order to submit them to the government,” she said.

“Rivers SOS is also concerned about the Planning Assessment Commission because it has been weighted by the panel of experts appointed to the Commission often, people who work as consultants to the mining industry.

“We need independent scientists to go on these panels, not people who get regular work with the mining companies.”

She said the group was not happy with the draft Aquifer interference policy which, she said, was leaving out things out such as pollution of water by CSG and high water usage.

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2 Responses to “A powerful statement from Rivers SOS”

  1. jim Leggate says:

    I congratulate Ms Graham on her absolutely relevant comment re the lack of independent science, corruption and undue influence. Mining has become a dirty word and there is no basis for trusting this industry in Australia. I am a whistleblower and probably have more evidence than most when it comes to the corruption. The Queensland and Federal governments have tried to sweep my evidence under the mat.; evidence which includes unfair dismissal, perjury and official misconduct. At this time of dangerous escalation of mining , the risks associated with this corruption are enormous. THEY MUST BE EXPOSED via a full commission of inquiry.

  2. Julie Lyford says:

    Look at the recent media report through the Newcastle Herald as to what is happening in Gloucester……all that is being asked for is an independent scientific study of the water issues surrounding the entire CSG project and its cumulative impacts. The industrialisation of this unique valley is a tragedy for the future.

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