The GISERA-commissioned, CSIRO lead, social impact assessment into ‘Community wellbeing and local attitudes to coal seam gas development’ in Narrabri has been released.
We’re pleased to report that 69.5 per cent of respondents were in support or not opposed and only 30.5 per cent opposed the Narrabri Gas Project with “those residents who live in Narrabri town and surrounds held significantly more positive views’.
The research was commissioned by GISERA to establish a baseline measure of community well-being, community resilience and adaption, and expected future well-being in the context of a proposed coal seam gas (CSG) development in the Narrabri shire of New South Wales.
While the Project is in an appraisal stage of development, the baseline measurements can be used to measure changes in community wellbeing over time, understanding and mitigating potential impacts, and help to realise any opportunities as the report details.
The survey took place during March and April of 2017 when researchers surveyed 400 random residents from throughout Narrabri Shire and asked 183 questions.
Participants were asked a range of questions including a section on the importance of local benefits in which “local benefits from gas were of higher importance to residents in the Narrabri shire than broader societal benefits”.
Corporate support for local community activities ranked a score of 3.74 (where 1 = strongly disagree and 5 = strongly agree), local employment was at 3.40 and opportunities for young people to stay in the region rated 3.35.
Earlier reports also suggest support is strong in the Narrabri region when in June, reporting of the New South Wales Government statistics summarising submissions to the Narrabri natural gas project proposal focussed on the number of submissions against the project – the local picture was very different.
Of the 500 submissions from Narrabri itself, the majority were supportive of the project.
What this suggests is that among the people for whom this matters the most, opinion is more for the project than against. This is a compelling fact because opponents have waged a very active and highly emotive campaign against the project.
Narrabri locals are apparently more sceptical about the claimed environmental risks than people on the coast, in Sydney, interstate and overseas — bearing in mind that thousands of submissions came from outside NSW.
Perhaps this demonstrates that locals have actually taken the time to examine the issues, listened to both sides of the argument and weighed up the pros and cons for themselves.