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Byron Shire
January 22, 2022

Gas debate to heat up Richmond Valley Council

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Richmond Valley Council will debate a motion questioning the future of the gas industry. (file pic)
Richmond Valley Council will debate a motion questioning the future of the gas industry. Photo Eve Jeffery

Darren Coyne

GAS mining will be on the agenda at Richmond Valley Council today following yesterday’s breakfast at Bentley gathering.

And it’s expected that quite a few ‘protectors’ could be heading Casino way to listen to the debate.

With the state government to announce tomorrow whether it will lift the suspension of Metgasco’s drilling licence for Bentley, Cr Robert Mustow has brought the issue to the table with a notice of motion.

The motion reads: ‘ That following the recent suspension of Metgasco’s gas exploration activity at Bentley and the views and responses expressed over time by a range of stakeholders, council at its August meeting: (1) Consider its position on the industry and revisit its Positioning Statement on Coal Seam Gas, and (2) Ensure that in expressing any position on this subject it voices its opposition to any form of fracking in gas exploration within the local government area.’

Having had mining company Metgasco based in Casino for a number of years, Richmond Valley Council this year declared ‘neutrality’, taking the position that the mining industry was a state government responsibility.

Ballina, Byron, Lismore and Tweed councils have all sent letters to Premier Mike Baird, ministers and local MPs asking that the region, or their local government area, be declared gas-free.

At yesterday’s Bentley breakfast gathering, protectors were urged to peacefully attend the meeting in Casino at 5pm.

They heard that the mining company had initiated legal action against the state government, but agreed to adjourn the matter until June 27 while the government re-examined the suspension of the company’s drilling approval.

The suspension came in the face of stiff opposition from the surrounding community, and with increasing pressure on local National Party MPs, whose offices will visited by protectors today at midday.

The protectors will come bearing a letter, which in part calls on the state government to revoke all petroleum exploration licences in the northern rivers area and declare the region gas free.

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  1. First the drilling suspension by the government then the court case suspension by Metgasco…..Suspension after suspension and now its suspense!!!!

    If the government decision backs the gas company to continue its operations it will have a negative boomerang effect to the whole gas industry across Australia and the world.

    Metgasco and its arrogant attitude given its close government contacts (National MP Thomas George strategically having his son working for Metgasco for years) and all the dirty laundry that is related to the gas licences will push the communities to be even be more vocal than ever and this saga will continue unless the government respects the position of the Northern Rivers Communities now and for all. Gas not welcome. No for the exploitation of our region. The awareness is only growing….its a dead end.


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