7 March 2016

Labor has expressed its strong concern about moves by the Baird Government to curb peaceful and lawful protests in NSW.

Labor Leader in the Legislative Council and Shadow Industry, Resources and Energy Minister Adam Searle said Labor would resolve its formal position once the legislation was tabled, but he was worried about the language and direction being set by the Baird Government.

Energy Minister Anthony Roberts’ use of the language like “eco-fascists” – was counter to sensitive community debate and discussion on exploration in NSW.

After comprehensively losing the community debate on CSG and unconventional gas in NSW, particularly the North Coast, the Baird Government is now seeking a new way to thwart the community’s view on this matter.

There are already a number of existing laws that deal with offences, ranging from obstruction and trespass to criminal damage.

NSW Labor has put forward a comprehensive policy on CSG, including no further development of the industry until all recommendations made by the NSW Chief Scientist and Engineer in September 2014 are fully implemented and the industry is proven to be safe to water acquirers, the community and environment.

In addition, there should be permanent “no go” zones including core water catchments, residential areas, National Parks, wetlands, critical industry clusters and prime agricultural land. The Northern Rivers of NSW and the Greater Blue Mountains World Heritage Area will also be permanently protected under Labor’s sensible legislation.

Labor Leader in the Legislative Council and Shadow Minister for Industry, Resources and Energy, Adam Searle MLC today said:

“The Government is on the wrong side of the CSG debate and knows it.”

“After losing the community debate, the Premier and his minister are just playing politics on this issue.”

“As a responsible Opposition we will look carefully at any proposal but we will not attack genuine community protestors who are standing up for their families and communities.”