Gas Inquiry Hears Widespread Concern

New Matilda - 26.9.2011

It’s not just residents who are anxious about coal seam gas – industry groups are urging caution too, as submissions to an ongoing NSW parliamentary inquiry reveal.
The coal seam gas industry (CSG) could have an impact on the mental health of farmers and communities in rural NSW, a psychologist told the first public hearing of the parliamentary inquiry into CSG last week.

Dr Wayne Somerville, a landholder in Kyogle and clinical psychologist who has worked in the Northern Rivers area for over 30 years, was among those giving testimony.
Dr Somerville provided a “compelling and thought-provoking testimony foreshadowing the personal and social traumas that the arrival of the coal seam gas industry is likely to bring,” parliamentary committee deputy chair and Greens MLC Jeremy Buckingham told New Matilda.

In his written submission to the committee Somerville said: “I am very alarmed at the social disruption, depression, anger, violence, and political chaos that the CSG industry appears set to inflict on Australia.”
He continued: “The emotional and psychological impact of such destruction of property, lifestyle and prospects for the future will inevitably result in predictable psychological responses. For many, the loss will lead to anxiety, depression and, for some, to suicide.”
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