The battle lines are being drawn. Coal seam gas (CSG) mining is set to become a major state election issue on the north coast in March next year.
The choice is now clear after the recent NSW Labor conference where a ban on CSG mining in the northern rivers region was supported by delegates covering the Lismore, Ballina, Clarence and Tweed state electorates.
At the same time Premier Mike Baird has ruled out any bans on CSG.
Labor governments have a long history of acting to protect the environment. It was Gough Whitlam who created the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park. It was Bob Hawke and Paul Keating who protected the Franklin, Kakadu, the Daintree and Antarctica.
Bob Carr protected old growth forests, doubled the number of national parks and tripled the wilderness protection areas to two million hectares. It was his state government that established the Cape Byron Marine Park in 2002. In 2011 Julia Gillard passed the Clean Energy Act.
If the people of the north coast elect another Labor state government we may yet protect the region from the scourge of the CSG industry.
Cr Paul Spooner, Byron Bay