Greens Member for Ballina Tamara Smith has said the failed CSG-buyback plan demonstrates legislation is needed to cancel coal seam gas licences across the Northern Rivers.
Greens Member for Ballina Tamara Smith said, “We are now at the 30 June deadline on the Government’s licence buyback process and it is clear that PEL 445 has not been bought back and Metgasco is continuing to pressure the Government to give it police protection to start drilling again. We need a circuit breaker.
“I have twice asked questions in the Parliament of the Energy Minister Anthony Roberts about the CSG buy-back plan. I am concerned that with the deadline passing, there is a real risk the Government will allow the sale and transfer of PEL 445 to proceed.
“The Greens have draft legislation in the Parliament and are prepared to negotiate to ensure the Government has the power to cancel licences without compensation. The companies have had their chance, but at the end of the day the community, the land, water and environment need to come first on this issue.
“It is clear that the Nationals have been ineffective as part of the Coalition at getting change to protect this region from coal seam gas.
“Combined, the Greens, Labor and the Nationals have the numbers in the Parliament to kick this industry out of the Northern Rivers for good and we should get on and do that when Parliament comes back in August. I challenge the Nationals to vote in the Parliament for a gas field free Northern Rivers.
“It was disappointing to see both the Government and Labor filibustering in the Legislative Council on the last sitting day before the winter break trying to avoid making a decision on the Greens bill. But now the buy-back deadline has past, there are no excuses to not acting.
“The community didn’t ask for CSG and shouldn’t have to pay for the mistakes of previous Governments and the failure of this industry to consult with the community and protect the land and water,” Ms Smith said.
For more information: Amy Phillips 0429 196 694 –or (02) 6686 7522