Govt ‘buckled’ to gas lobby: MP

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Greens NSW spokesperson on mining Jeremy Buckingham said Thursday that leaked internal documents from gas company Santos demonstrate the ‘pervasive and corrosive influence’ lobbyists for the gas industry have on NSW government policy.

The internal Santos presentation, detailed in The Land newspaper, show that the NSW government was considering policies in line with community expectations before they were influenced by Santos.

These included the introduction of clear no-go zones, including on the black soil Liverpool Plains, and significantly tougher petroleum exploration Licence renewal conditions.

‘The government has watered down its own policies to placate Santos and probably the Minerals Council of NSW, and the result is regulations that fail to protect land and water,’ Mr Buckingham said.

‘The public expectations are clear: we need prime agricultural land, critical water resources and urban areas to be off limits to the gas industry and we need an independent, transparent and accountable planning system.

‘Instead what we have got is a government shamelessly fast-tracking coal seam gas, avoiding the tough policy decisions needed to protect the community and having secret meetings with dodgy donors.

‘The Greens have a bill before parliament which will ensure we have a responsible mining industry in NSW and I urge the government to listen to the public and support our Responsible Mining Bill when it comes up for debate in August.’

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