Lock the Gate protesters label health study another CSG lie

THEY were not from Tara, but a group of up to 30 headed into Brisbane city yesterday to stand with the small south Queensland community in solidarity against health findings clearing the coal seam gas industry.

The Lock the Gate contingent aimed their action at Health Minister Lawrence Springborg on Friday after he announced the details of the report late last month.

The minister was not in Brisbane, attending a North Queensland community cabinet in Ayr.

Protest co-ordinator for the Darling Downs Shaun Murray rejected the earlier health findings, which included residents complaining of irritated eyes, nose and throat plus nosebleeds and skin rashes.

The report suggested the symptoms could be caused by "solastalgia", a form of emotional distress that occurs when a person or group is forced to deal with change to their environment.

It found there was no "clear link" between the symptoms and the gas industry, although conceded more information was required.

Tara farmer and Lock the Gate campaigner Brian Monk said he had been igniting water from his bore since gas extraction began near his property.

"It's clear that the community is being lied to about the impacts of CSG, and the Tara health study is yet another example of this," he said.

Mr Murray agreed, describing the health study as "deeply flawed".

"To us it seems like a completely politicised investigation," he said.

As part of the protest, activists offered bottles of "Tara Tingler" sparkling water which the group said was "from the coal seam gas-enriched groundwater of Tara"

Mr Murray said he also wanted to draw attention to a review done by the National Toxics Network, a group which he said reviewed the results and found them lacking.

The NTN is a "community-based organisation" currently running campaigns against CSG, pesticides in farming.

A spokeswoman for Mr Springborg said the investigation into health impacts was part of an "independent process".

"Unfortunately, some people won't be happy until they get what they want," she said.

"We can only look at the evidence that has been supplied to us by an independent process."



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