20 March 2018
At least 150 people gathered on a rural property in Western NSW to talk with Opposition Leader Luke Foley about the critical issues of water and coal seam gas mining.
As part of his ‘Schools and Hospitals before Stadiums’ bus tour of the state, Mr Foley visited the town of Coonamble where the proposed Narrabri gas project and the impact it could have on surrounding agricultural land are key issues.
Mr Foley was joined by a delegation of Labor MPs to hear from Coonamble locals about their concerns about the impacts of coal seam gas on the Great Artesian Basin and rich agricultural land.
Labor went to the 2015 election with a clear policy to oppose the Narrabri gas project.
This is Mr Foley’s fifth visit to the seat of Barwon as Leader of the Opposition, and his second to the town of Coonamble; his first was when he was campaigning against the Liberals and Nationals greyhound racing ban.
The local community in Coonamble and surrounds knows that the Nationals have stopped listening. In recent months Labor MPs have visited the area and promised to come back with the leader of the Opposition so he can hear directly the concerns of farmers and community members.
Mr Foley reassured the locals gathered at a family farm, 27 kilometres north of Coonamble on the Castlereagh Highway, that he wanted to hear their views.
He also confirmed Labor’s position that the Narrabri gas project should not proceed.
The Labor delegation included Adam Searle MLC (Industry, Resources and Energy), Penny Sharpe MLC (Environment and Heritage) Mick Veitch MLC (Primary Industries, Western NSW and Lands), as well as Labor’s duty Upper House MP for Barwon Daniel Mookhey MLC.
Mr Foley said that while the Liberals and Nationals were spending $2.7 billion on rebuilding sports stadiums in Sydney, Labor was focussing on the concerns of regional communities.
Quotes attributable to Labor Leader, Luke Foley:
“I’m very happy to be in Coonamble – it is a great town and I’ll always remember how it united to defeat the Nationals’ greyhound racing ban.
“People here know that I stood up for them on greyhounds and I’ll do the same on coal seam gas.
“The risks to this area’s farms are too great. That’s why Labor opposed the Narrabri gas project in 2015 and why we still oppose it today.”
Quotes attributable to Shadow Minister for Energy, Adam Searle:
“This Liberal National Government has made a mess of coal seam gas policy, leaving communities exposed to prolonged periods of uncertainty which is in no one’s interests.
“Everyone knows there are areas where there should never be a risk of coal seam or other unconventional gas exploration or extraction. That is why NSW Labor has long proposed permanent no-go areas, to protect prime agricultural land and water.
“That is why we have opposed the Santos Narrabri CSG proposal and will continue to do so.”