North Coast Greens candidates have promised a state-wide ban on unconventional gas mining, and a new sports stadium for Ballina.
Ramping up their bid to remove National party members from the Lismore and Ballina electorates the Greens yesterday outlined their priority issues for the March state election.
In Lismore, Greens coal seam gas spokesperson Jeremy Buckingham, and Ballina candidate Tamara Smith, joined candidate Adam Guise to promise that the Greens would push for a coal seam gas ban not just in the northern rivers, but across NSW.
Mr Buckingham said the Greens were totally opposed to CSG whereas the National party was pro-CSG, and Labor had failed to announce any protection for the Clarence valley.
“The Greens firmly believe that Australian must transition to clean energy and away from fossil fuels,’ Mr Buckingham said.
‘Starting a new fossil fuel industry that will last decades and threatens land and water is entirely the wrong direction to take.
‘Coal seam gas is unnecessary, unwanted and unsafe. It should be prohibited not only in the northern rivers region, but across NSW.’
Mr Guise said the best way to protect the entire region was to vote Greens.
‘If elected, I will work to stop coal seam gas in our region, from the Clarence to Byron, to Tenterfield, to Lismore, to Nimbin,’ Mr Guise said.
Later in Ballina, the trio also announced that the Greens would support the community campaign to build a $15 million sports centre.
Ballina candidate Tamara Smith said there was a desperate need for a sports centre, and said the former Ballina council depot site would be ideal.
‘There is a desperate need for a dedicated indoor sports facility in Ballina that meets the needs of our growing population,’ she said.
‘At present, there is no indoor sports facility in Ballina and sporting groups are forced to use a single indoor court at Southern Cross High School that is inadequate to meet their needs and growing membership.’
Mr Buckingham said it was time that the National party realized that Ballina was no longer a safe seat.
‘It’s appalling that Ballina shire is home to over 40,000 residents, yet has no access to an indoor sports facility,’ he said.
‘Many NSW towns with smaller populations, including Byron Bay, Yamba and Maclean have an indoor sports facility, but Ballina seems to have been neglected.
‘The former Ballina Council Depot site would be ideal location for this new sports facility, as it is close to the centre of Ballina and currently under utilised.
‘The council and Ballina Basketball Association have repeatedly approached Ballina MP Don Page and asked for his support to secure the site, but he seems indifferent.
Ballina Shire councillor, Jeff Johnson also called on the state government to step in and assist the council in delivering an indoor sports centre for Ballina.
‘The lack of certainty surrounding the location for the Ballina indoor sports centre has stalled the project.
‘Council has allocated the money for the design and development application process, but has been unable to proceed further.
‘The depot site would be ideal as it’s a large parcel of land that