Shareholders at the Metgasco annual general meeting in North Sydney yesterday voted to reject the remuneration report, a sign that shareholders are unhappy with the board.
A second rejection next year would see the entire board forced to stand for re-election.
The mood of the meeting was one of ‘frustration boiling over’, according to Lock The Gate Northern Rivers spokesperson Ian Gaillard.
Mr Gaillard, who attended the meeting with a group of other gasfield-free activists, said Metgasco CEO Peter Henderson ‘is still understating the company’s problems’.
‘It’s time Mr Henderson disclosed to the investment community about the 85 per cent who voted against gasfields in Lismore in 2012 and the latest university research that shows 65 per cent of the Richmond Valley, where Metgasco’s field operations are based, are also opposed to his proposals,’ Mr Gaillard said.
A former Metgasco employee, who was defeated in her bid to be elected to the board, was equally scathing but for different reasons.
Glenda McLoughlin, the company’s former CFO, said the shareholders are sending a message that they would like to see better performance out of the board.
‘They’d like to see the board get on and develop the company’s resources for the benefit of the northern rivers community and local gas customers. There are tremendous benefits to be gained from the development of these clean energy resources,’ she told ABC radio’s Rural Report this morning.
The meeting was told that the company intends to return to the northern rivers and drill its Rosella-1 well near Casino in in the first half of 2014.
Metgasco said it is expecting the environmental approval for it from the state government within the next month.
But Mr Gaillard says, ‘[Mr Henderson] may call the proposed Rosella-1 mine “conventional” but the community knows it’s an industrial gasfield by any other name’.
Mr Henderson described the AGM as ‘a very interesting meeting with some strong views expressed’.
‘Nick Heath and Greg Short were returned as directors of the company and the three challenging directors were not.
‘There was a very clear message from the entire group that they believe the value the gas can add to the northern rivers region and a determination to see some benefits come from the project,’ he told ABC.
A request from Echonetdaily for comments from the company had not been responded to at time of writing.