Gasfield Free Northern Rivers representative Annie Kia.
Gasfield Free Northern Rivers representative Annie Kia.

CSIRO report on fracking ‘does not pass the pub test’

GASFIELD Free Northern Rivers has rejected a CSIRO report that found no environmental effects on fracking in the Surat Basin, saying it was a 'big tobacco company' moment.

The report, a three-year scientific study, found little to no impacts on air quality, soils, groundwater and waterways in six fracking wells in Queensland.

The organisation's representative, Annie Kia, said the report lacked credibility because it was not independent.

>>> CSRIO offers to discuss controversial CSG report

The study was done by the CSIRO-led Gas Industry Social and Environmental Research Alliance (GISERA).

"GISERA is a CSIRO organisation funded by big gas companies," she said.

"Its governance board is stacked with big gas players, and its work serves their agenda.

"Studies have shown that when contentious issues are researched by industry-funded teams, the work favours industry.

"This has happened with big tobacco and with big pharma. Big gas is no different."

The Lismore area resident lamented that CSIRO would back the report.

"It is a real shame that CSIRO diminishes their reputation by their association with fracker-funded research like this," she said.

"Look at its methodology. There are approximately 19,000 wells drilled in Queensland gasfields. Yet this study just looked at six fracked wells hand-picked by Origin Energy, the main funder of the research project.

"You can't call this 'independent' research … it just doesn't pass the pub test."

Richmond MP Justine Elliot confirmed her position against hydraulic frackturing.

"I continue to stand with our community in opposing the National Party's agenda for harmful coal seam gas mining in our region," she said.