“Visitors spend around $30 million annually in the Gloucester region, providing jobs for up to 240 people in the tourism sector and supporting many local businesses. Tourism is an increasingly important
part of Gloucester’s economy and to jeopardise it through drilling for
coal seam gas in the area is risky and short-sighted,” Ms Barham said.
Ms Barham noted that tourism operators are playing a significant role
in the local protest against AGL’s plan to commence fracking four
wells at their Waukivery pilot project site outside Gloucester. In a
submission to the 2011 Parliamentary Inquiry into Coal Seam Gas,
Tourism Advancing Gloucester’s (TAG) Thomas Davey wrote that:
‘TAG believes that CSG mining works hard against the scenic beauty of
Gloucester, adding a slow uglification to a region long-recognised for
its beauty; it destroys productive farming land; and it detracts from
the tourism experiences of the town.’
“As the gateway to the World Heritage Listed Barrington Tops, the
natural beauty of Gloucester is a key attractor for the region. The
tourist operators of Gloucester see the impact this mining project
will have on the landscape, along with the risks to air quality and
water security, and the Government should act in the region’s
long-term interests,” Ms Barham said.
“Although Minister Anthony Roberts’s announcement last Thursday that
he was extending the Government’s coal seam gas moratorium is a
welcome reprieve for some communities, it doesn’t apply to Gloucester.
“The community opposition to AGL’s coal seam gas project and the risk
it poses to tourism mean that the Minister needs to take further
action,” Ms Barham said.
“Communities in regional NSW work hard to establish local industries
that complement the traditional agricultural basis for their survival.
“We should be supporting the long-term viability of rural communities
through tourism instead of threatening their very existence by
approving fracking despite the strong protests of the community,
including businesses involved in tourism,” Ms Barham concluded.
27 Sep 2014