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Byron Shire
April 18, 2021

Metgasco suspends court action against state govt

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Gas explorer Metgasco has put on hold its Supreme Court action against the state government over the suspension of its Bentley exploration licence.

The case was due to be heard in the Supreme Court on Friday but the company issued a statement to the Australian Stock Exchange (ASX) on Monday saying it had reached a last-minute deal with the government to expedite a decision.

‘Metgasco has responded to a request by the NSW government and agreed to adjourn the first court hearing for its legal action from Friday June 13 until June 27,’ the statement reads.

‘This agreement was made following a commitment by the NSW government to use its ‘best endeavours’ to make a decision on whether to maintain the suspension of Rosella drilling approval by June 25 and to make available by June 20 the documentation used by the NSW government to make its suspension decision.’

The announcement has prompted the Greens to warn the government not to go soft on Metgasco now that the Bentley blockade has been disbanded.

‘The government should not do any deals with Metgasco and should uphold their decision to suspend gas exploration in northern NSW,’ said Greens MP Jeremy Buckingham.

‘Regardless of the technicalities, it is clear that Metgasco do not have the support of the community and that the overwhelming opposition to gas drilling will not go away,’ he added.

But Metgasco said it will reserve the right to further action if the government does not respond in the agreed timeframe.

‘Metgasco has asked the Supreme Court to set aside the Office of Coal Seam Gas’s decision to suspend drilling of the Roeslla well,’ it said.

‘The grounds for Metgasco’s claim are that the decision was unlawful because it was not authorised by legislation, and was made without affording Metgasco procedural fairness.’

The statement goes on to maintain that Metgasco had met its community consultation obligations and adds the company retains its right to seek damages if the suspension is not lifted.

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  1. Metgasco is fluff. Where do they think they will they find the funds to pursue this issue in court when we all know that heir shares are worth about as much as monopoly money? They know they’ve done the wrong thing anyway. [Continuing] will only incur the further wrath of all those who oppose their presence here.

    Even those who’ve shown an almost comedic lack of astuteness must by now understand that people making up the majority of the Northern Rivers population are watching their every move, and any suspect move will most assuredly result in a deepening enquiry into their present and past actions. May this government finally demonstrate some backbone and send Metgasco packing. This company has dug too many holes already. May the next hole it digs be its own final resting place!

  2. If there were “procedural Fairness” involved in this issue Metgasco and its principals would be dangling from the proverbial yardarm. The hide of these cowboys is mind-boggling, after the way they ‘acquired’ these licences and tried to foist toxic destruction on the Northern Rivers in the name of development, to then sue the Government when it is forced to halt drilling due to Metgasco’s shoddy practices. G”)

  3. I see two issues here. First the issue of procedural fairness and second the facts behind the decision to suspend. The second is the more easily addressed as the Fiasco obviously lived up to its name and failed to engage/consult with the wider community. One can only ask why the OCSG had been blind to the Fiasco’s failures UNTIL less than a week before drilling was about to commence.

    If we accept the timeline OCSG have presented it is easy to see the quandry they were in and the necessity not to follow the normal procedures. With less than a week to act there was no opportunity to notify the Fiasco in writing, await a response and possible rectification etc.

    This leaves them in a diabolical situation!

    Either they a) ignore the apparent breach/s and allow drilling to commence as scheduled or b) decide to suspend the drilling licence immediately and notify the company ASAP? The first option leaves them in the dubious position of allowing drilling which they KNEW to be in breach of licence conditions; the second leaves them liable to a law suit for failure of procedural fairness.

    I would suggest that regardless of the legal technicalities involved OCSG had no alternative but to suspend the licence

  4. So true, re- comments above ! An absolute and intelligent enquiry needs to be put into place regarding ‘how’ they acquire ALL licenses in the first places ? what … strategies are used and who are ALL the people involved and what [is the] gain from this environmentally damaging activity ! What do we as the people living on and respective of this land on this planet have the rights for ? this planet truly has no rights to be owned by anyone ! LOOK into the solar system – we are an abundant planet with living systems that need to be protected ! An economy of greed and wealth and power dominance does not protect harmony, peace and the right to all living beings and matter to just exist ! ABBOTT ! how .. could Australia being ‘OPEN TO BUSINESS’ and ‘THE PEOPLE HAVE GOT TOO MUCH FOR TOO LONG’ be supporting long term sustainability, peace, love and harmony as an entire existence on this planet living to survive and preserve the beauty of where we have been placed ? We need to now fight for our future survival. Greedy wealth and forcing people into having to work their entire lives destroying the planet in developing products that are deliberately designed to not sustain so we replace for greedy wealth again and being prescribed drugs that are approved and making millions in profits ! once again greedy wealth ! that simple natural and herbal alternatives call cure ! to help us do this to cope with the surmounting stress of what is required just to afford to survive in this society with all the requirements on the paperwork, rising bills, legislations and laws ? I do not want my beautiful children growing up thinking they have to entire the army to fight a war for power over greed and ownership just to entitle them to an education ???? enough is enough ! we need to stand up as a country and say “we promote peace, harmony and respect for the earth and all living beings, creatures and anything that is living on this beautiful planet ! Australia needs to set a new evolutionary stand ! NOT follow suit into war, the military and greed power ! No governing authority has the right to destroy and take over the living and sustainable rights of a planet ! NO PERSON owns the planet ! Where does it say in any law that the corporations OWN planet earth ?????? we need to RISE now ! noone ………. owns this planet ! we only have the right to exist in harmony and in peace on her ! this is the LAW of nature and if we do not follow this law, then the greedy powers at hand are creating extinction for their own generations along with he human race and hundreds and thousands of other living species ! the planet will go on as it has done from beyond time already !

  5. Based on the track record of both the Government and Metgasco, this is not yet dead in the water. Government and business want fracking , because in their minds their is no viable alternative.
    Here’s why- all the future projections for oil and gas consumption show that the increase in useage will be taken up by Non- conventional supplies. There is no likelihood of any significant increase in conventional oil and gas… In fact conventional supply is and will contract. So in the minds of those in power, we must have fracking, which is part of the unconventional supply.
    Of course there are alternatives, the most significant and immediate is to reduce consumption. This does not sit well with industry and government , because they see it as an idealogical attack on the growth economy. The next option is alternative fuels- none of which are as efficient as burning fossil fuels, when taken in isolation. Once you start to factor in the environmental and health costs the alternatives make much more sense. The big problem is that we have been so busy squandering the cheap high output fossil fuels that we havent spent enough effort developing the alternatives.
    All of this means that this fight to stop fracking is not going to be one easily or quickly. It is an ideological fight against growth economics.
    In the short -term it can be fought as a turf -war, the way it has to date. In the short term again that means keeping fracking out of agricultural land and away from populated areas. fighting the good fight to protect local turf be it Bentley, the Northern Rivers, NSW, whatever, understanding what we are up against is important to success in stopping this highly toxic and damaging method of extraction.

  6. If the owners of Metgasco ever drove around this Shire they would see that around 98% of the population are against Coal Seam Gas extraction. We might be the only area in Australia to have such an overwhelming majority against – so why frack here? Choose somewhere else easier or risk bringing the level of awareness we have in this area to the whole of Australia through the publicity we create. Better still, give up the idea of fracking anywhere.
    Metgasco may not have been aware that on the day they intended to bring the drill rig in there were going to be between 8,000 and 10,000 of us there to stop them. The government did them a favor suspending their license.


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