QGC home buyout 'proof gas, people don't mix'
UPDATE: SOME of the loudest voices in the anti-coal seam gas debate have been silenced as QGC buys up property in the Tara district.
The Tara "blockies" spearheaded one of the most damning campaigns against coal seam gas in Queensland, with claims families were being poisoned by drilling operations.
QGC is believed to have spent more than $1 million buying properties in the area, many of which have no water or electricity access.
Graeme Henderson was arrested in 2011 after chaining himself to a gate to stop QGC vehicles leaving a property outside Dalby.
He confirmed his Tara property had sold, but said a confidentiality agreement meant he could not reveal the identity of the buyer.
The gag order did not extend to what he had heard about QGC buying land from other outspoken opponents.
"This was about getting rid of the trouble makers rather than those who were impacted by the project," he said.
"In the past week, they've started moving drilling rigs into the 30-acre blocks.
"As recent as last year, they said they had no intention of coming into any of the smaller block areas, but they reserved the right to do so in the future.
"From what I can see, the future has arrived.
"They've basically got rid of all the protesters."
Queensland Health released a report in March last year finding no evidence to support health complaints in the area, which included migraines, nose bleeds and rashes.
A QGC spokesman said the land purchases were routine "to support development of long-term infrastructure and to minimise impact on residents, particularly those in rural residential estates".
Lock the Gate Alliance president Drew Hutton said the land-grab was an admission that people and gas fields did not mix.
"We applaud QGC for taking this step and we are waiting to see if the company will do the right thing for the remaining residents who have been suffering a range of health effects from air pollution and black rain," he said.
"We know of families living within metres of gas wells who have not been offered a deal from the company."
EARLIER AT 9AM: A GROUP opposed to coal seam gas development says QGC's purchase of properties near Tara was proof that people and gas fields did not mix.
Lock the Gate Alliance president Drew Hutton applauded QGC for taking the step to purchase the properties, allowing residents to move on.
Those living in the rural-residential area south of Chinchilla had claimed the coal seam gas operations were poisoning them.
But Mr Hutton said a comprehensive investigation into health impacts of coal seam gas was needed before any more developments were approved.
"The people of Tara have been forced to suffer the consequences of life in a gas field for far too long and finally QCG has come to the party and bought out those who have complained the loudest," Mr Hutton said.
"The buy outs are a tacit admission by this foreign owned CSG company that coal seam gas is harmful to human health.
"We applaud QGC for taking this step and we are waiting to see if the company will do the right thing for the remaining residents who have been suffering a range of health effects from air pollution and black rain.
"We know of families living within metres of gas wells who have not been offered a deal from the company.
"The Queensland Government has repeatedly washed its hands of any responsibility for the health of people living in the Tara area despite years of complaints that have been suffering from headaches, chronic nose bleeds, nausea and vomiting and seizures.
"A report by local doctor Geralyn McCarron found that 82 per cent of the residents she surveyed reported negative health impacts from living in the gas field.
"Finally QGC has admitted responsibility and bought some people out so that at least they can move away from the pollution and try to rebuild their lives and health away from an industrialized gas field.
"CSG mining should not be happening anywhere near homes. The experience of Tara should stand a reminder of the impact of this invasive industry and its cost to human health."