A recent survey conducted for AGL was presented to Gloucester
Council and published in Sydney's Sunday Telegraph with an impressive amount of spin.
The survey is heavily biased to provide a bankable outcome for
their client, AGL. AGL's survey shows:
1) The number of people who oppose Coal Seam Gas outnumber the people who support it by
nearly four times
44% of people oppose CSG! Only 13% support CSG!
2) Unprompted, 1 in 8 people across the state specifically mentioned CSG
or mining as
being an important issue to them, even though 40% live outside fracking regions
3) Half the population are closely following the
specific issue of CSG
4) * only 10 people out of 1000 saw a benefit of CSG
only 39 out of 1000 people said "Jobs" were a benefit
"Cheaper/cleaner energy" was a benefit to 25 out of 1000 in the survey
18 people out of 1000 said "More money in the community" was a benefit
5) The survey results clearly show that the massive PR campaign by AGL is not
working to convince the people of NSW that fracking farmland for CSG is a good
The same survey appeared in the Sunday Telegraph on 20th
January 2014, see picture.
In a slideshow for Gloucester Shire Councillors, AGL claim they did a telephone
survey of 1000 NSW residents in September 2013. These included 200
Gloucester/Manning Valley residents from Taree and west; 200 Hunter region; 200
Macarthur region and 400 "Rest of NSW" (200 urban/200 regional).
Polling was conducted by Jetty Research paid by AGL. Their
As a supplier of both commercial and social research, our mission is “to
provide information which helps businesses grow and communities flourish“.
"What is important to our community?"
In slide 11, the respondents were asked, unprompted "What is
important to your community?"
No mention was made about the reason for this survey (to
promote CSG) before asking this question.
3% specifically mentioned CSG (which were included in the 10%
overall who responded 'environment' or 'climate change'), another 3% mentioned
mining & resources, whilst the vast majority mentioned more general issues such
as cost of living, health, education, employment and the economy.
The slide claims "In total, only 3% of respondents
specifically mentioned CSG" yet the slide does not add the others who mentioned
mining and the environment, 13% in total.
40% of people responding to this survey (respondents in survey
lingo) were from areas not affected by CSG, including fully one fifth who lived
in the city.
There is little reason for people not feeling the impact of CSG
on their lives to warrant them mentioning it above cost of living, health,
education, employment and the economy.
Clearly this question is designed and weighted (biased) to give a low
number of responses against CSG.
Given that the survey respondents were answering a very
general question, the 13% who specifically mentioned the environment and mining
in the full gamut of issues shows very real concern to regional Australia.
"What are the community's attitudes?"
"How closely have you been following the discussion about
CSG in NSW?"
Slide 12 shows the responses to the question; between 2012 and
2013 "Closely" following CSG has risen from 28% to 48% whilst those answering
"Not Closely" fell from 72% to 52% - obviously the twenty percent increase in
one comes from the other.
With 48% of people "closely" following the
specific issue of CSG, obviously now that it was mentioned by the surveyor,
these results really show how important the issue is to the community.
"How supportive are you of CSG exploration
Slide 13: The number of people who are "Opposed" rose from 43% in 2012 to 44%
44% of people oppose CSG!
People who are neutral or unsure fell from 45% (2012) to 43%
People who support CSG rose from 12% to 13%
Only 13% support CSG!
The number of people who oppose CSG outnumber the people who
support it by nearly four times, according to AGL's own research company.
"But levels of support appear virtually unchanged" ... despite
massive spending on public relations and advertising, community information
sessions and huge changes to legislation. Clearly, the industry PR is failing,
"Why are they undecided about coal seam gas?"
This question only targets those 45% of people who answered
"unsure" to the previous question. Slide 14 shows the answers:
69% of people need more information or research (an
overwhelming majority); 12% have "no opinion";
5% declare that "CSG damages the environment";
5% answer "as long as it's done properly", and;
4% say that "an alternative energy supply is needed".
Embedded in the answers of those who are "unsure" about CSG
are 9% who are concerned about the environmental damage and want alternative
With the exception of the 5% "as long as it's done properly"
(which means the gas industry has a lot of work to do to avoid the tragedies
occurring in Queensland and the USA), there are no answers here which should
give the CSG industry any optimism at all.
"Are there ANY benefits to having AGL work in your region?"
Let's see the answers to this loaded question, in Slide 15:
Gloucester/Manning: 59% say "Yes", 29% "No", 12%"Unsure"
Hunter: 41% say "Yes", 47% "No", 12% "Unsure"
Macarthur: 37% "Yes", 50% "No", 13% "Unsure"
"What benefits does CSG bring?"
The research company makes a note "only asked of those in
affected areas" - so we eliminate the 40% who live in the "Rest of NSW".
We have to assume that they only ask this question to the 37%
of Macarthur people who saw a benefit in the previous question (74 people); 59%
of Gloucester/Manning people (118 people) and 82 people in the Hunter (41% who
saw a benefit).
We have to make this assumption because it would be pointless
asking people who saw no benefit, what benefits they saw!
Now this survey question is put to a total of 274 people, down
from 1,000 at the beginning of the survey, so we can effectively divide these
figures by 1/4 to get a true indication of the number of people who see these
15% saw "Improved infrastructure" (41 people) or 10
out of 1000 weighted
57% said "Jobs" (156 people) or 39/1000 weighted
36% said "Cheaper/cleaner energy" (99 people) or 25/1000 weighted
37% replied "More money in the community" (74 people) or 18 weighted
Given that those percentages add up to 145, it is surprising
(or not) that no mention was made that people were allowed to give more than one
answer - which severely weights (adding bias to) the answers, especially when so few
people are asked the question and especially when they had already stated they
saw a benefit.
The AGL PR campaign dollars spent promoting the notion of
rising gas prices seems to be lost on the 99 people who said "cheaper/cleaner
energy" - perhaps those people were emphasising cleaner, rather than cheaper.
The AGL website on their Gloucester project states they will
only employ 11 people.
No allowances were made in either questions or answers as to
the negative effects on the environment, health, community, effects on other
industries and jobs.
Given that this question was only put to those to people who
saw a benefit, it is extremely weighted ... that is, biased.
If the full weight of the 44% of people who oppose CSG were
included, these "benefits" answers would be miniscule.
Statistics are like bikinis ... they hide more than they
Some questions were common to all surveys, others
specific to affected or non-affected areas. No mention was made about the reason
of the research call by AGL's consultants. The results were 'weighted' to the
ABS Census data for each region.
The AGL survey slides:
Pilliga | Gloucester |
Camden | Northern Rivers
Queensland | Western Australia |
South Australia |