Lismore MP Thomas George has conceded the coal seam gas issue could impact on his ability to win a fifth term in government.
Mr George has announced he will stand again as a candidate for the National Party in the March election next year.
Asked if CSG would be a significant factor, Mr George said there ‘was no doubt the CSG debate has certainly played a significant impact on me personally, the electorate and the party’,
‘But let me assure people I’m not a single-issue person. I’ve made appropriate representations to the ministers, the party… and I continue to represent the wishes of the electorate,’ he said.
Mr George conceded under questioning that he has not spoken in parliament about CSG, nor turned up at the Bentley blockade.
‘Since being elected as deputy speaker I haven’t spoken on a number of issues because I’ve tried to remain neutral,’ he said.
‘My representations are not on the front page or on television. They’ve always been done behind the scenes and I’ve been no different in this CSG debate.
‘I’ve listened and taken forward views openly and honestly.’
Mr George said he was eager to continue his work.
‘I’ve been honoured and privileged and because it’s a difficult job it’s a decision I haven’t taken lightly,’ he said.
‘I want to assure people I’m running for the right reason. There’s still a lot of work to be done and the major project I want to see completed is the Lismore base hospital stage 3b.
‘It’s important to the whole region for a commitment to that to be made in the next term of government.’
Mr George said a wish list of his priorities would come out during the election.
He listed a number of road projects as priorities.
‘There’s the east west connection from the Pacific Highway to the New England Highway, the Woodenbong to Lugume Road, and for Tenterfield I’ve made representations on a bypass, an issue which has been around 20 years.
‘I’ve also been receiving lots of representations on the rail trail, which is supported by Ballina and Tweed.’
Mr George announced his bid while inspecting an upgrade of technology to improve the way court proceedings are recorded and transcribed at the Lismore court complex.
‘Lismore court house has received $30,000 for digital installations in all four courtrooms,’ he said.
In NSW all formal criminal and civil court proceedings must be recorded to provide a clear account of what has gone on in the courtroom.
He said audio would be captured by microphones in the courtroom and automatically uploaded onto a computer and transferred to a transcription centre to be transcribed if required.
Recordings and notes would be held for three to five years, and could be ordered by judges, juries, legal practitioners and members of the public who were directly involved in court matters.
‘Court transcripts are not automatically prepared in all matters. If a person needs a typed copy of what was said during a court case the Reporting Services Branch uses the audio recording to prepare a transcript,’ he said.