Queensland Health Minister Lawrence Springborg has been accused of playing down health concerns linked to coal seam gas (CSG).
Debbie Orr, a pregnant mother of five, says at least 19 families living in an estate near Tara, west of Brisbane, are suffering nose bleeds, sore eyes, nausea, vomiting, rashes and diarrhoea.
There are five CSG wells inside the estate and some parents fear their children are suffering from gas exposure.
Queensland Health is monitoring patient presentations at Tara, Miles and Chinchilla hospitals to follow up health concerns.
Mr Springborg says only two people have visited medical authorities in the area, claiming to be suffering from CSG side-effects. Ms Orr says Mr Springborg has missed the point.
“People don’t go to their GPs saying they’re sick because of CSG,” Ms Orr told AAP.
“They go in complaining of headaches, nose bleeds and rashes.
“If the minister is looking for people who claim CSG is making them sick then they’re asking the wrong question.” She said health officials should be looking for patterns in patients’ symptoms.
“Our children are getting sick and we want answers whether it’s to do with CSG or not?” Ms Orr said. Mother of seven Marion Palmer wants Mr Springborg to visit the estate.
“He can come and stay here and experience the headaches, smell the gas and see what my children go through,” she said. A spokesman for the minister said that would serve no purpose.
Since moving to the estate last year, Ms Palmer said all of her children have been hit with symptoms she now believes are linked to gas exposure. In that time, they have made numerous visits to the local medical centre for rashes, headaches, nausea and vomiting, she said.
But she said there were many more residents with similar symptoms who were reluctant to visit a GP.
Mr Springborg said people who believe they have symptoms should visit local hospitals or their GP.
“In order for us to go to the next step we need to be able to get some verification of the symptoms and linkages,” he told Macquarie Radio.
“All I’m saying is that I can only deal with information. Now if people want to actually get their (doctor to) release patient records to me, please do so.”
But he sidestepped questions about whether CSG mining in the state should be suspended until more is known about its potential side-effects.