Lismore mayor Jenny Dowell has hit back at claims by Metgasco’s CEO Peter Henderson yesterday that the council’s poll on coal-seam gas, taken three months ago at the time of the council election, was ‘fraudulent’.
Mr Henderson has told local media that it was ‘a fraudulent poll in the sense that it presented… an argument for that was jobs, jobs, jobs, and an argument against that was environmental destruction, health impacts, etcetera, etcetera, which is quite incorrect.
‘If I hadn’t worked in the industry for 36 years and I didn’t know about oil and gas and that was the only information I was presented, I would have voted no, because the information was fundamentally flawed,’ he added.
Cr Dowell told Echonetdaily yesterday, ‘it is odd because first of all it’s very late to be talking about that now, so long after the poll’.
‘And secondly it casts aspersions on our community. They voted in huge numbers considering a poll is not compulsory voting.
‘If he is saying it is fraudulent or inaccurate because not everyone votes would he say the same about the election of the American president?
She added that ‘fraud is a bizarre word to use; it implies criminality and some deliberate misleading for someone’s gain’.
Cr Dowell said the council had no role in the presentation of the ‘yes’ and ‘no’ cases. Rather Southern Cross University approached APPEA to produce the ‘yes’ case and Lock The Gate to produce the ‘no’ case.
‘I’m aware the anti-CSG people felt the ‘yes’ case had holes in it and vice-versa.
‘I wonder if Mr Henderson would think it a fraudulent poll if the result was more in his favour.’
Cr Dowell said she would not be taking the matter to tonight’s Lismore City Council meeting, adding there were other more pressing CSG issues to deal with.
‘I’ll leave the community to judge Mr Henderson at his words but I’m not going to take it any further,’ she said.