Northern Rivers residents continue to protest against CSG development.
Northern Rivers residents continue to protest against CSG development. Doug Eaton

Metgasco accused of spin

ANTI-CSG group Lock the Gate has slammed a report on the economic benefits of CSG to the Northern Rivers.

The group has described Metgasgo's claims (see story-link below) about indirect job creation as blatent industry spin.

"The anti-CSG alliance says that any proper assessment of the economic spin offs from the industry would require a full independent cost-benefit analysis that considers all the impacts on existing industries in the region, as well as the social and environmental costs of the industry," it said in a statement.

Northern Rivers Lock the Gate spokesperson, Boudicca Cerese, warned residents to be wary about the claims of economic benefits.

"I think that local residents need to be wary of claims... when (Metgasco has) repeatedly refused to detail the scale of the gas fields and number of wells that their economic modelling is based upon," she said.

"In addition, the accuracy of the standard mining industry claims repeated by Metgasco about indirect job creation - the so-called multiplier effect - which has been refuted by Australian treasury officials, who say: 'In a well-functioning economy like ours ... it is not the case that individual industries are creating jobs, they are simply re-distributing them ... there really isn't a multiplier'.

"What is also occurring in many regions where the resources industry is growing rapidly is that skilled workers are relocating from other sectors thereby harming local businesses, or being brought in from elsewhere, creating little net employment benefit for local communities.

"What we as a region need to be asking, and government's need to be properly analysing, is what impacts an expansion in the CSG industry will have on our vital farming and tourism industries and what will be the economic costs of potential contamination of our air and water, and health impacts on residents, from the wholesale industrialisation of rural areas that Metgasco is proposing.

"How many jobs will be lost because of food producing land going out of production, water supplies being depleted and contaminated, and our image as a beautiful natural place to visit being ruined?"

See tomorrow's Northern Star for the full story.