Tweed Valley based Coal Seam Gas campaigner Michael McNamara has called on Thomas George, state MP for Lismore, to resign following reports late last week that he supports Coal Seam Gas (CSG).
‘Mr George was elected to represent the communities of the Northern Rivers and if he finds himself unable to do that he should resign,’ Mr McNamara said.
‘Communities in Mr George’s electorate have overwhelmingly come out against CSG.
‘Last week at The Channon we saw the launch of the CSG-free communities strategy for the Northern Rivers following an overwhelming 99 per cent support among residents.
‘More community meetings have taken place in Mr George’s electorate this weekend with similar results and the momentum is continuing to grow.
‘Support for the CSG industry from Mr George and the NSW government flies in the face of pre-election commitments given by the Coalition.
‘The claim by supporters of CSG that the government needs the royalties raised to pay for hospitals and schools is outrageous.
‘The companies have a royalty-free period of five years from the commencement of a production well and the royalty payments then increase on a sliding scale.
‘That means that for the first five years of production the companies pay absolutely no royalties and for the next four years they will not pay the full royalties due.
‘This is not a bad deal for the companies when the average life expectancy of a production well is between five to six years – but it is an awful deal for taxpayers and local communities.
‘I don’t know where Mr George and his government colleagues think the money is coming from but it certainly is not from CSG royalties.’
Mr McNamara encouraged Northern Rivers residents to attend rallies outside state parliament on 1 May and at Lismore on 12 May to protest against Coal Seam Gas and its impact on local communities, water, farming and environmentally sensitive areas.
Last weekend hundreds of people from The Channon and Keerrong regions declared their roads CSG-free in a massive meeting attended by the Lismore mayor.