22 June 2016
After comprehensively losing the debate on coal seam gas (CSG) and refusing to embrace Labor’s positive solutions, the Liberal-National Government has signalled in yesterday’s budget that it is full steam ahead for CSG activity in NSW.
In Budget Paper No. 3, p6-3, the Liberal-National Government committed itself to“supporting … gas … projects across New South Wales … especially in regional areas.” confirming its plans continue to develop CSG in this State ahead of implementation of the recommendations made by the NSW Chief Scientist in her September 2014 report.
Despite spending $25 million buying back CSG exploration licenses, including on the North Coast of NSW, in May 2016 the Government was caught providing promotional material to mining investors at an overseas conference which stated that the North Coast of NSW had “very good potential” for CSG exploration.
This follows the revelation in April 2016 that, in its Draft North Coast Regional Plan, the Liberal-National Party Government identified CSG resources for future development.
The Draft North Coast Regional Plan says “the North Coast also includes areas of the Clarence-Moreton Basin, which has the potential coal seam gas resources that may be able to support the development and growth of new industries and provide economic benefits for the region.”
This would not be possible, under NSW Labor legislation, now before the NSW Legislative Council. The Bill sets out in full the commitments Labor made before, during and since the 2015 March State election regarding coal seam gas activities in this State.
There should be no further development of this 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 acquifers, 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, Energy and Resources Adam Searle today said:
“The Baird Government is moving ahead with its ‘Gas Plan’ with no consideration to the potential risks of CSG highlighted by NSW’s Chief Scientist.
“They said the Draft North Coast Regional Plan entry was a mistake and that they have no plans for CSG on the North Coast. They also said the promotional CD given to mining investors overseas was also a mistake. Yesterday’s Budget papers reveal the true agenda of the Liberal and National Parties – to continue with their plans to develop CSG resources in this State.”
“NSW Labor has heard the concerns of people across the state, those in the Northern Rivers and other CSG affected areas who are gravely concerned about what CSG will mean for them and their communities.”
“New medicines are rigorously tested before being released on the community, and are only allowed once they have been proven to be safe. The same approach should apply to industries, including coal seam gas.
“The NSW Government has signalled in yesterday’s Budget that they will continue their pro-CSG agenda. NSW Labor will continue to press its sensible and balanced policy in the Parliament.”