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Byron Shire
June 15, 2024

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Serge Killingbeck, South Ballina

It’s time for Metgasco and the state government to come from behind the PR spivs and tell it like it is instead of parroting the spin sheets being handed to them on a daily basis. No CSG is not an option, so say so and clear the air. Show some backbone and pin your colours to the mast.

The government knows that irrespective of who issued the licences – Labor or Liberal – this government would be in for one of the biggest compo bills in the state’s history if they pull Metgasco’s licences. With a massive black hole in its budget of billions, potentially sending the state bust, the O’Farrell government would almost certainly be a one-term government and would go down in history for all the wrong reasons. I don’t think so. Barry is not about to do that to rescue a couple of Nationals from a bunch of irate hayseed farmers, feral scratchies and bogan townies.

If Metgasco executives address any moral/ethical duty to the community and pull the pin then they will find themselves chin deep in litigation from shareholders looking for compo, and jeopardise their annual bonuses. I don’t think so. Company directors would be in breach of their fundamental legal duty to look after the company’s, and by extension, shareholders’, best interests. While this legal duty is enshrined in Australian law, in Australia we have no legal duty binding directors to consider the best interests of the community or the environment, unlike the in UK and elsewhere.

It appears the only avenues left to resolve this matter in a civil way is if there were found to be an issue with a matter of national environmental significance that meant Metgasco could not get approval under the federal law to drill. This isn’t about to happen as Ferguson has made it clear in no uncertain terms who, in the federal government, is running this one. Him, not Burke.

Hazzard is the point man but the bottom line is that as long as they can keep this nonsense quarantined to the bush, it’s all good for Metgasco and the state government. For as long as they keep the whole issue out of the conscience of the people who matter, Sydney, there’s no problem. And big deal, so a couple of Nationals lose their seats, the Liberals have still got plenty left in electorates that do matter.

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  1. Dear Serge,

    The statement you make in the second paragraph is simply not true, and should not be perpetuated. It is the same lie that Hazzard/O’Farrell/George use to justify their actions.

    Section 22 of the Onshore Petroleum Act explicitly rules out compensation due to cancellation of petroleum titles where there has been a breach of conditions or the land is ”required for any public purpose”.

    And the government has the absolute discretion to not even issue or renew licences, which the government just did, and continues to do.

    The argument of compensation is an outright lie the government is hiding behind.


    Yours sincerely,
    Adam Guise

  2. Serge suggest you read The Petroleum (Onshore)Act 1991 there in section 22 you will find that the Govt. can cancel licences without compensation payable even if an offence has not been committed.
    Yes it is time for the Govt. to come out from behind the PR spivs

  3. Hang on! Why is Serge perpetuating the myth of the compo payout – certainly no compensation is payable if exploration licences (PELs) are terminated or not renewed. The scale of the land covered by individual PELs is staggering – it amounts to a gross grab for land out of proportion to the scale of the industry.
    Also – the black hole is also a myth – the Auditor General found that the state’s budget was $300 million in surplus and that the deficit was a fiction that arose from accounting errors…


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