THE LIKELIHOOD of the coal seam gas (CSG) movement spreading from its northern roots to the Riverina has prompted a rural group to hold an information forum that will bring together landholders and industry experts.
The Rural Ratepayers Association have organised a mining and coal seam gas forum this month to provide answers to the divisive debate.
Wagga association president Barbara Johnston said the session aimed to point landholders in the right direction if they were to receive a letter or knock at the door from mining companies, following previous applications for CSG mining across the region.
In March this year, the state government rejected an application by Grainger Energy to explore for CSG in the Riverina near Hay, Deniliquin and Narrandera.
The decision follows Dart Energy's application for preliminary investigations, covering more than 44,000 square kilometres from Albury to Parkes, with its central operation in Cootamundra in 2012.
The application would have allowed minimal on-ground exploration, excluding drilling, but the state government knocked it back.
"There is still a push by these mining companies and that's why we've sort of mooted the idea earlier this year," Mrs Johnston said.
"It is a concern and we're just wanting to make people aware because it's certainly coming our way.
"It certainly could possibly happen and everybody seems to be frightened about it.
"I certainly want a lot of questions from the floor so they're not frightened about what might happen."
A map on the state government's website of CSG mining reveals the immediate area around Wagga city is part of a residential exclusion zone, but surrounding areas fall under the statewide biophysical strategic agricultural land, defined as areas that have the best quality soil and water resources, capable of sustaining high levels of productivity.
CSG activities may be approved on the lands based on the decision of an independent panel.
Mrs Johnston conceded there was no one solution to the great CSG debate.
"Some people are keeping their mind open," she said.
"Is there money to be made?
"How will it affect us?
"There's all these questions.
"There's lots of different points of view.
"There's certainly two sides of the story.
"People need to come along to hear what it's all about.
"It's all very new to us down south."
Association secretary Daniela Gooden, a mixed farmer 55km west of town, believes the session will provide answers.
"I just want more information," she said.
"I don't know enough.
"I just want to know, as a landowner, our legal options before it actually arrives."
The forum will be held on Tuesday, August 26 at the Commercial Club from 7.30pm.