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Byron Shire
March 8, 2021

Stoner appointment ‘bad news for CSG opponents’

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Andrew Stoner holding a media conference at the NSW-Qld border opposite Twin Towns club yesterday morning. Photo Jeff Dawson
Deputy premier and now north coast minister Andrew Stoner in a flying visit to the region recently. Even some of his party colleagues think Mr Stoner will be too busy to adequately perform the role. Photo Jeff Dawson

Shadow minister for the north coast Walt Secord and Richmond MP Justine Elliot have come out swinging against the appointment of deputy premier Andrew Stoner to replace retiring Ballina MP Don Page as minister for the region.

Mr Stoner’s agreement with CSG miner Santos to rush its Pilliga wells into production despite significant environmental damage already caused by its exploration so far has seen him painted as an ally of the controversial industry.

Mr Secord said: ‘The decision by the new premier Mike Baird to appoint deputy premier Andrew Stoner as minister for the north coast was appalling,’ and was ‘akin to rolling out the red carpet to the CSG industry’.

‘Make no mistake, Stoner is the most pro-CSG politician in the state parliament,’ Mr Secord said.

Mr Secord said Mr Stoner, ‘personally signed the agreement to accelerate the CSG industry’, adding that his appointment to the new role ‘is the worst possible news for the north coast’.

Mrs Elliot declared September 12, 2012 ‘the greatest day of failure for the north coast Nationals’.

‘That was the day when the Liberal-National state government reaffirmed the CSG leases on the north coast, locking in the industry into the region.

‘My position on CSG is crystal clear. I believe that it is too great a risk, but the National Party is totally committed to developing and expanding the CSG industry on the north coast,’ Mrs Elliot said.

Even some local National Party politicians are upset at the appointment, with one saying the deputy premier would not have time to give the region reasonable priority.

Coffs Harbour MP Andrew Fraser told ABC radio this morning, ‘Mr Stoner has major portfolios. Apart from his role as deputy premier, he has trade and investment, regional infrastructure and services, tourism and major events, and small business’.

‘We’ve seen in the past the trade and investment portfolio has taken him overseas for a fair amount of his time; to actually also have the north coast makes it pretty hard, I would think.’


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  1. Given Mr stoner’s appointment is one of absolute contempt for the people of this region it should strengthen our resolve and ensure more than ever our vision of a CSG free northern Rivers. No compromise, NO GAS

  2. There is an election soon. If Mr. Stoner pins his colours to the CSG mast then the National’s will have to stand by that as a party. The local electorates have already made their choice loud and clear. Local National Party members are the ones who will have to make a choice, before the election. I don’t envy their position.

  3. This one is about as far away from a ‘green’ stoner that you could get. What a pathetic system of governance we have, one where industry/corporate greed is placed over the top of community need. Stoner is up for the fight of his life on the Nth Rivers.

  4. Mr Stoner,
    87% of Lismore Residents voted against Gas mining in the Northern Rivers. This area thrives on Tourism & has a reasonably balanced economy.
    Against that we see the Gas fields around Tara: a blight on the landscape that no tourist would want to visit, an area where there are very few old age pensioners because they cannot afford to live with the high rents, or the inflated food costs. The jobs created are mainly fly-in, fly-out, where the workers usually live in Dongas, not as families in towns. (There was even a worker died in a Donga that was not found for over a week: shows the sense of community there!)
    CSG mining will do only negative things for the beautiful, pristine North Coast. As a 65 year old that is still working (so you do not think I am a dole bludger, or professional protestor) I know that the environmental damage to our beautiful area if CSG mining were to go ahead would be so devastating that we would lose our Tourism. The employment is not likely to be for local residents & the jobs are only for the first few years anyway during the initiation of the project. After that we would only have a skeleton staff here & a virtual private police force protecting the multi-nationals investment (because MedGasgo would have sold out by then). In Tara, if you dare to go along a country road near the Gas infrastructure late at night, the private police will stop you & ask what you are doing…..do we want that for the Northern Rivers? NO!
    So, Mr Stoner, please consider the majority of the population of the Northern Rivers that do not want CSG mining. The reason for this is that with current technology there is too much risk. Water is precious in Australia. Our area feeds the Great Artesian Basin. We could be poisoning the water for our future generations for a few pieces of silver.
    I am happy for two things: as the new minister, you could stop this mining in its tracks. The other thing I am happy about is that the opposition to the rape of our environment is growing every day. I am lucky to have some Long service leave, so I will be expressing my opposition on any occasion I can.

    regards Doug

  5. I love it 🙂
    The empororer becomes more and more naked by the day …
    These clowns are showing the world how ridiculous they are. ..
    We must stand up for the peace revolution. This is not about conservative or liberal, hippies or farmers. This is about everyone and their freedom. EVERYONE!!!
    Join the peaceful revolution… The brushfires have been lit and the winds of freedom are a blownin’. Watch us glow 😉

  6. Oh Dear,
    This is all going to end in tears. We must work to ensure that it is the tears of “Big Fossil” and not those of “Protected Water”……….

    Doug has stated things in the words I would use. Community MUST TRUMP Corporation. We owe it to the kids.

  7. Mr Stoner has a history of violence against those who he doesn’t agree with – in the NSW parliament no less. So his appointment is a serious issue for peaceful defenders of the earth.


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