NSW Labor leader John Robertson is set to arrive in Lismore tomorrow (Tuesday) to announce that a Labor government would declare the north coast a CSG and unconventional gas free zone.
Such a ban would apply to Ballina, Byron, Kyogle, Lismore, Tweed and Richmond Valley shire council areas.
Mr Robertson will be joined at the announcement by the north coast Labor team of Isaac Smith (Lismore), Paul Spooner (Ballina) and Ron Goodman (Tweed).
Shadow environment minister Luke Foley and shadow health minister Walt Secord are also expected to attend the announcement in Riverside Park at Lismore.
It’s understood the park was chosen as it was the site of the original protest where 8,000 residents rallied against CSG and unconventional gas mining on the north coast.
The policy announcement will place increasing pressure on sitting Nationals member Thomas George, who has readily admitted that the CSG issue has cost his party support.
Meanwhile, the NSW government announced last week that it was extending its ban on new CSG exploration licence applications for another year.
NSW energy and resources minister Anthony Roberts said the freeze on licences would be extended by another year, allowing the Office of Coal Seam Gas (OCSG) to complete its ‘comprehensive examination’ of current licences and applications and giving the government more time to assess the application process.
The Liberal Nationals coalition government has refused to be drawn on repeated calls for the north coast to be declared gas free, leaving State Labor’s new policy a potential vote changer.
And while Labor’s policy will be widely welcomed, the Australian Greens have led the charge for several years in pushing for a gas-free region.