Anti-coal seam gas group Lock the Tweed has taken the Nationals candidate for the seat of Richmond, Matthew Fraser, to task over his repeated comments that ‘there is no CSG in Richmond’.
Mr McNamara said Mr Fraser needed to ‘get real’ on the subject, with more than 95 per cent of respondents in the electorate opposed to the extraction of the unconventional gas and two organisations with prospecting licences covering the area.
‘Despite the fact that Dart Energy and the NSW State Aboriginal Land Council are willing to take the commercial risk of exploring for CSG here, Mr Fraser continues to maintain that there are no commercially viable reserves of CSG in Richmond and, therefore, that CSG is not an issue in this electorate,’ said Mr McNamara.
He said that if the same logic were applied to the issue of boat people, they ‘should not be an issue in Richmond because no asylum seekers have landed on the beaches within the electorate’.
He added that Mr Fraser’s supporters were reportedly telling voters at pre-polling that ‘there is no CSG in the Richmond electorate’ as they are entering the polling booths.
‘Unless he has X-ray vision he can’t know this!’ Mr McNamara said.
‘The only way to know whether or not commercially viable CSG deposits exist in the Richmond electorate is to undertake exploration drilling – and this is just what communities do not want!’
He queried why, if there were no prospects for CSG within the area, Dart Energy had not relinquished those portions of its licence.
‘Relinquishing sections of an existing licence is standard industry practice. In fact, until the O’Farrell Coalition government in NSW recently renewed a raft of licences overnight, it was a requirement for renewal of exploration licences by the state government that companies relinquish 25 per cent of their licence, so to say that sections of the licence in the Richmond electorate can’t be relinquished for whatever reason is nothing more than political gobbledygook and doublespeak.
‘Mr Fraser is the only candidate who does not seem to get it on CSG. He is just not listening to the people he seeks to represent.’
See the Echo’s full election coverage on the page Election 2013