Social discourses on coal seam gas: environmental justice and the media in the Hunter Valley, NSW
thesisposted on 2022-03-28, 14:24 authored by Christopher Bagia
Research into Coal Seam Gas (CSG) in Australia has so far focussed on scientific and technical issues associated with its extraction and impacts on the environment. There is a large gap in knowledge about CSG relating to the social issues and impacts that arise from CSG development. This includes how the mining of CSG will affect local communities, and the energy and environmental futures of NSW. This research develops a case study of social perspectives on CSG in the Hunter Valley. The Hunter Valley has a history of contested land uses. It is considered to be the NSW wine and agricultural food bowl and has a history of coal mining, and it is now a proposed extraction site for CSG mining. Given the contested nature of the CSG industry in this region and its dependence on water, any impacts to ground water resources could severely affect the livelihoods upon which the local communities depend. CSG frames environmental justice concerns in the Hunter Valley – how environmental decision making and land uses differentially impact on local communities, and their capacities to sustain economically and environmentally healthy places. The case study utilises discourse analysis to explore social perspectives on CSG from a variety of sources, including CSG policy and print media. The goal is to understand how discourses on CSG shape public perceptions of its impacts, and how different framings of CSG are utilised by different actors in the region. This also informs how social perspectives on CSG are empowered and disempowered in policy and planning frameworks, and how communities themselves act on CSG development.