Everyday Australians are feeling uneasy and under-informed about the risks surrounding the extraction of coal seam gas (CSG), according to new research by The Australia Institute.
A survey of more than 1400 people makes up part of the research paper What Australians don’t know about CSG. Respondents were asked about their knowledge of, and concerns about coal seam gas.
The Australia Institute found that more than a third (36 per cent) of respondents had not heard of CSG.
“This lack of awareness is extremely surprising, given the extensive work of community groups campaigning against CSG,” The Australia Institute’s Senior Economist Matt Grudnoff said.
“The gas industry is being very selective about the information it’s actively giving Australians about CSG, and perhaps so far it’s working.”
The survey also finds:
- Only 30 per cent of respondents were able to correctly identify that CSG extraction takes place in both rural and urban areas.
- 81 per cent said they didn’t know the difference between CSG and liquefied natural gas.
- 96 per cent oppose CSG extraction, if it reduces the productivity of the land.
- 89 per cent think farmers should have to right to say no to CSG on their land.
- Only two per cent ranked CSG as their top choice when asked to select from a list of 15 issues they thought politicians should take action on.
The survey also finds that the public tends to weigh up CSG projects in terms of economic benefits versus environmental costs.
“The issue with the public considering CSG in this way is that gas companies are often wildly overstating the economic benefits of their projects,” Mr Grudnoff said.
“This type of gross exaggeration from the gas industry is the reason Australians feel unsure and uninformed about CSG.”