Anti-gas activists are calling on re-elected Lismore MP Thomas George to investigate cancelling exploration licenses in the northern rivers without handing over taxpayers’ money to mining companies.
The call follow’s Mr George telling Echonetdaily upon his re-election that he could not give a guarantee that all gas exploration would be halted on the northern rivers because the government was facing legal challenges.
Meanwhile, the Knitting Nannas staged their regular Thursday vigil outside Mr George’s Lismore office yesterday but were confronted by police ordering them to move along.
The Nannas told APN media after being confronted by police that Richmond Inspector Nicole Bruce told them that their protest was illegal, they were breaking the law and that there had been complaints they were blocking the footpath.
The Nannas said they were seeking legal advice but were adamant they would not stop pressuring Mr George to listen and respond to community concerns about CSG.
Gasfield Free Northern Rivers spokesman Dean Draper said the election had shown that the people of northern rivers did not want invasive gasfields imposed upon them.
As a result of the CSG issue, Ballina changed hands from the Nationals to the Greens, and other areas of the Northern Rivers, including Lismore and the Clarence, had massive swings away from the incumbent Nationals MP’s.
‘The people of the northern rivers have worked very hard over the last four years to achieve this favorable political outcome and we would like to acknowledge and thank everyone who has put so much energy and effort into the campaign to protect our region.”
‘We are very happy that we now have a north coast MP, the new Member for Ballina, Tamara Smith, who will be working hard in parliament advocating for the cancellation of licences right across the region.”
‘We are also eagerly anticipating pre-election commitments on this issue from other local MP’s being enacted as soon as possible,” he said.
In the lead-up to the election, both the Greens and Labor promised to declare the northern rivers gasfield-free while the Coalition would only go so far as to promise it would buy back available licenses and not re-issue them again.
‘We look forward to Member for Lismore Thomas George following through with his commitment to buy back PEL 445 and ensuring no more licences are issued, though we would also like to see cancellation options investigated that would not require handing over taxpayer dollars to gas companies.”
‘Once PEL 445 is removed that will still leave Metgasco and Clarence Moreton Resources/ERM with active licences over large areas in the Lismore and Clarence electorates so we will continue to lobby all of our North Coast MP’s to support the wishes of their constituents until all the licences, from the Tweed River right through to the entire Clarence catchment, are completely removed.’