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Byron Shire
March 9, 2021

A lot of hot air over gas campaign

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Ian Gaillard (letters, Echonetdaily October 2), not Ian Macfarlane, is the one insulting NSW communities over gas. The voters particularly in Page saw right through the campaign of fear and misinformation.

Federal industry minister Ian Macfarlane made the current government’s proposed gas policy crystal clear before the election, particularly clear to the electorate of Page, the only electorate with gas potential (for conventional gas or CSG) in the northern rivers.

Contrary to what Mr Gaillard says, there is an impending gas supply crisis, and expected rises in gas prices. Putting your head in the sand won’t assist local jobs or industry. Major employer industries are already leaving NSW.

The impending gas cost and supply constraints are why major local employers such as Richmond Dairies have sought and contracted future local gas supplies from Metgasco. They are currently paying three times the price for gas compared to industrial users in other states and the future looked bleak.

Mr Gaillard says that ‘Mr Macfarlane has put himself on a collision course with the vast majority of people in the northern rivers’ and, ‘More than 85 per cent of the region [is] united in our opposition’. Nonsense!

The clear result in Page showed a massive swing to the Nationals; a swing of more than 12 per cent in the rural booths with gas potential. Both the Nationals’ and Labor’s policy on gas and energy favoured development.

Having voted, more than 90 per cent of the Page electorate voted either Labor or National. We can forget about the No CSG party vote in the Senate!

The Greens’ election material clearly stated they were the ‘only’ party in the electorate of Page clearly against the development of gas in the region. The Greens’ vote was down by 30 per cent, with a primary vote of just over six per cent.

Even Kevin Rudd said on a visit to Casino that ‘this region will be cooking with gas’. I guess the electorate believed Kevin and Ian Macfarlane and voted that way.

John Vaughan, Byron Bay

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  1. Coal seam gas,fracking etc all come under the same term of “money at all cost”.Until these companies can say exactly what happens to the earth from pumping a cocktail of unknown liquids into the ground then don’t allow it.Sydney receives it gas via a pipeline from South Australia (Moonee Fields) that is not a coal seam gas so surely this region could also receive a pipeline from the QLD fields.If you check the Internet about the terrible problems that this industry is causing in the USA then you would see it is frought with dangers.

  2. Geoff
    Is fracking the DEVIL?
    The supply of electricity to the Northern Rivers from Victorian brown coal and NSW black coal rather than cleaner gas would also fit your “money at cost” analogy.
    You say that NSW has been supplied gas from the “ Moonee” field in SA. It should be noted that fracking has been used for decades in SA’s Cooper Basin to supply our gas. The quote from an ABC rural report below confirms this. It should be understood that the entire supply train of gas on the East Coast will transform once the massive exports start from Gladstone and this will impact NSW’s supply and pricing.
    ABC Rural, “Oil and gas producer Santos says the industry needs to do more to educate the public about fracking.
    It involves the injection of oil, sand and chemicals into the ground to fracture rocks and release the gas associated with them.
    Fracking has come under fire from farming and environmental groups, who say it is an unproven process that could contaminate aquifers.
    Santos has been fracking for natural gas from sandstone in the Cooper Basin in outback South Australia for more than 40 years.
    The gas is piped thousands of kilometres to Adelaide, Brisbane and Sydney.
    Santos has now started producing shale gas for those markets and Santos vice-president James Baulderstone says the company will employ the same fracking technique.
    “The industry has let a bit of a misinformation campaign build around the technique, which is really aimed not necessarily at natural gas, but more so at fossil fuels,” he said.
    “I think it’s up to us to educate the public, but clearly it can be done and it can be done and Santos proposes to do that here in Australia.” – ABC Rural
    You say fracking has caused terrible problems in the USA, that’s debatable. Nobody will argue the fact that the gas produced by fracking of shale deposits has made the USA largely energy independent and lowered the USA’s carbon emissions back to what they were in the 1970s. Surely that’s a good thing.
    There is also a lot of misinformation on the internet about the dangers of fracking, the GasLands doco hype and nonsense is just one example. Claims that it’s bad, it’s poisonous and it’s the DEVIL (Justine Elliot’s position) create fear and are hard to courter rationally. Personally I prefer to believe the consideration and reports on fracking impacts put out by the American EPA and other like bodies.
    If you are going to rely on your own research check out the doco FrackNation on the net, it paints an entirely different view about fracking.

  3. John, get your facts correct. The Greens vote was at a historic high of nearly 18% in the electorate where you live (Richmond) and much higher across Byron Shire. Clearly locals do not want CSG mining and want a rapid transition to clean, renewable energy sources.

    • RE: Get your facts correct? “The Greens vote was at a historic high of nearly 18% in the electorate where you live (Richmond) and much higher across Byron Shire. Clearly locals do not want CSG mining and want a rapid transition to clean, renewable energy sources.”
      Well 18% is that a majority? The Green after all said they were only true anti gas party. There is plenty of gas in Page where the Green got 6% of the vote!
      The 18% of locals who voted Green here in Richmond can’t have low carbon CSG power to replace the brown and black coal power we now use here, even if they wanted it —— because there simply is no CSG in Richmond!
      Read the Echo, Dart energy the only PEL player in Richmond and in Byron Bay has no interest and is giving up the coastal areas of their licence. Why? Simple, there are no coal seams here outside of the Clarence Morton Basin.
      I guess the 18% who voted Green in the Richmond electorate and the 6% in Page believe fracking is the DEVIL. Rational discussion over!
      It’s pointless talking to the hand about the 40/50 years of problem free fracking both here and overseas. A rational discussion is simply not possible; it’s pointless talking about the multitude of worldwide scientific inquiries finding no significant issues; after all fracking is the DEVIL.
      We all love renewable energy, except perhaps a bird killing wind farm blotting the landscape or as a noisy neighbour destroying your health. The history of DAs for such in Byron Shire a littered by with protest and delays.
      However what we do know is that you can’t make your a plastic “lock the gate” sign or irrigation pipe from solar or wind power, nor fertilizers, explosives etc or as a replacement for industrial high energy uses, such as glass making now all provided by gas. A little investigating would most probably reveal the major part gas plays in solar panel production. Has someone out there has already done the work?
      Perhaps it’s time to hide the LPG bottles, or bury the gas BBQ, winter heater and water service?
      A long wait for solar steak or vegi burger on a cloudy day doesn’t bear thinking about.

  4. Oh Dear, FACT (1) all gas consumed in NSW comes from outside the state at present. FACT (2) when China starts buying all the gas we can produce the price will escalate to about 3 times what were paying now. Oh Yes don’t take lightly ‘Santos’ statement “I think it’s up to us to educate the public”. & lastly the doco gasland 2 from the aircraft shows what a hodge podge the american gas fields have already become, as one interviewee put it “this is what we need to save us, natural gas” I don’t see how selling it to the Chinese can help or who. On a closer note try googling the areas around ‘Dalby’ or it might be ‘kingaroy’ QLD, you’ll find that they have all been obscured, Why, wouldn’t want everyone to know where your drilling………………………

  5. Face it Mr Vaughan you’re just spruiking piddle. There is no gas shortage, the only thing we are seeing with this CSG conjob is a bunch of greedy profiteers looking to line their and their Chinese mates pockets while wanting to make Page into an industrialised s#*t hole. They don’t care about any local gas shortage, there is none & their market is overseas.They don’t have to live here, we do. It is true 85% of people do not want CSG in Page and the fact they voted for Hogan is because he has conned the usual gullible voters into thinking he is somehow going to be a powerful voice in Parliament. LOL. “Stupid is as stupid does”. No one in government will listen to this insignificant newbie & if you think the Liberals give a hoot about the Nationals other than at elections you’re more deluded than I thought you were.


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