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Pollies line up to fight CSG in northern rivers

Ballina Greens MP Tamara Smith, Greens mining spokesperson Jeremy Buckingham, and the Greens Dawn Walker with anti CSG activists at the Bentley site. (Supplied)

Ballina Greens MP Tamara Smith, Greens mining spokesperson Jeremy Buckingham, and the Greens Dawn Walker with anti CSG activists at the Bentley site. (Supplied)

Ballina MP Tamara Smith will be fighting ‘like a tiger’ if the National Party ever dare to issue a gas exploration licence in the northern rivers region.

Ms Smith said the region had made itself clear in wanting to be gasfield free.

‘The government must be deaf to still be pushing this toxic industry in their formal plans.

Ms Smith was reacting to news that the NSW Government was mapping coal and coal seam gas resources in the region in its Draft North Coast Regional Plan.

The plan states: ‘“The NSW Department of Industry is mapping coal and coal seam gas resources in the region.  Once completed, this information will inform future regional and local planning by providing updated information on the location of resources.”

“The North Coast also includes areas of the Clarence-Moreton Basin, which has 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.”

Ms Smith it was ‘duplicitous for the National Party to be bragging about the Northern Rivers being gasfield free but have secret plans to bring back coal seam gas.

‘I call on Minister Roberts to stop hiding behind bureaucracy and process and clearly state that he will not issue any gas exploration licences over the beautiful Northern Rivers,’ she said.

Greens mining spokesperson Jeremy Buckingham said the minister had refused to reveal areas he plans to issue new coal seam gas exploration licences.

‘Is Minister Roberts keeping the areas for new licences secret because the government plans to bring coal seam gas back to the Northern Rivers?’ Mr Buckingham said.

‘The Regional Plan is revealing and extremely concerning.’

Greens candidate for Richmond Dawn Walker said she was appalled that the state government planned to introduce anti-protest laws that would remove people’s freedoms and fundamental right to protest.

‘I’m appalled that the NSW Liberals-Nationals government intend to introduce anti- protest laws that will take away people’s freedoms and fundamental right to protest.

‘It is particularly concerning as the Baird Government appears to be planning to revive a coal seam gas industry on the North Coast, with the Resources Minister refusing to state which geographic areas would be reopened to coal seam gas.

‘Instead of siding with the coal seam gas industry, the government should legislate the requirement for companies to have a social licence.

‘The Bentley Blockade was a whole of community effort. Our community are not ‘eco-fascists’. They are people who care about our future and who want clean water, unpolluted farmland, and a safe climate.

‘Our land, water and climate are too precious to risk contamination from coal seam gas.’

Meanwhile, former Independent MP Tony Windsor is expected to confirm this morning that he will run against Deputy Prime Minister Barnaby Joyce in New England at the next Federal election.

Mr Windsor is also planning a renewed push against Shenhua’s plans to build a $1.2 billion open cut coal mine on the Liverpool Plains.

‘I’ll be standing with these people to make sure that all the objective science is done and then decisions made, not this bloody hopscotch arrangement that we’ve got at the moment,’ he told the ABC’s Lateline program.


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