North coast federal Labor MPs have denied reports claiming Prime Minister Kevin Rudd will make the expansion of coal-seam gas (CSG) a priority in a broad push to rein in high electricity prices.
Page MP Janelle Saffin and Richmond MP Justine Elliot say the claims are false and misleading and unlike the Nationals, there are no plans by Labor to expand CSG activities in NSW.
Mr Rudd last Thursday told the National Press Club his government would launch a ‘productivity plan’ which would target high domestic electricity prices, saying the ‘future availability of competitively-priced domestic gas supplies’ were ‘high on the agenda’.
But Mrs Saffin and Mrs Elliot said there was no mention of CSG in the speech, despite an Australian Financial Review story quoting ‘unnamed sources’ saying the policy would involve CSG expansion.
APN Media reported that Nationals candidate for Page Kevin Hogan had immediately challenged Mrs Saffin on the claims, but Mrs Saffin responded by saying the Nationals claims on CSG were ‘misleading’.
She said Mr Rudd had ‘made absolutely no mention of CSG mining in his speech or elsewhere’ and her position against CSG mining was ‘clear’.
‘I fought hard for the Federal changes to the EP&BC Act to protect our water; the water trigger legislation went through and is now law. This offers some protection for our area from CSG,’ she told APN.
Mrs Elliot described the Financial Review story as ‘mischief making’ with a spokesman telling media it was ‘easy to stir the pot with “unnamed sources”‘.