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Byron Shire
May 9, 2021

Anti-gas activists urge Thomas George to act

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Lismore MP Thomas George. (picture Darren Coyne)
Lismore MP Thomas George. (picture Darren Coyne)

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.’

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  1. Note what is happening!
    Almost the first words out of the mouth of our “representative” is He cannot guarantee…blah blah
    Next we have bullying the knitting nannas (not touched before the election!)
    And then we have the ballina road roof art trying to be scuppered in council (no complaints before the election)

    The very reason I voted green, labor etc & nats last. A crying shame that many people did not exercise their option to fill all reps boxes.

    All we can hope is that george goes into bat for those (majority) of the electorate that do NOT want the dirty gas industry on our beautiful land. However I will not hold my breath.

    Northern rivers is again “open for business”!!

  2. How naive of “anti-gas activists”. There is one thing that holds Western society together, and that is reliable and trust-worthy government. Whether or not they should have, the NSW Government (under both Labor and Liberal) issued valid and current licences to private companies. The government cannot turn around and cancel those without “handing over taxpayer dollars”. It would undermine our entire method of government. How would these activists like it if the government resumed their homes without paying for it? It’s the same thing – these are govermnent-issued titles which can only be bought back with compensation. Again, we need to separate emotion on CSG from practical orders of business and law.

    • These licencees are not people and these licenses are not their homes. The licences are issued at the will of the parliament and can be cancelled without compensation.

      JimBB is right though it would be extremely naive of anyone to trust the multiNationals to honour their promises. The fossil fuel industry has been built on lies and corruption for over a century now, why would their toadies suddenly turn out to be honourable and respectful representatives of the people? Our civilisation is being undermined by its lack of “reliable and trustwothy government”.

      We came close to getting a “reliable and trustworthy” representative in parliament for this electorate but fell short by 200 2nd preference votes. Now we have to fulfil our democratic duty and stand up and be counted every day.

  3. JimBB if we allow this industry to industrialise the Northern Rivers it will seriously affect existing industries like tourism and agriculture and the cost to the community will be far higher in economic, health and social impacts than any compensation payable to stop it now. I don’t believe compensation is necessary anyway, they have breached their license conditions by failing to consult properly with the community, one of their licenses was suspended for exactly that and they failed in the exact same way for their other license areas. The onshore petroleum act 1984 states that breaching conditions is grounds for license cancellation without compensation. Plus they are only in the exploration phase, their costs are minimal; and they have had fair warning that we do not want them here. Buyer beware. They should have started their exit strategy long ago when it become apparent they would not be able to operate here due to community opposition.

  4. As someone who was there to report on the election outcome in his speech Thomas George said that he would now be able to complete the buyback of PEL445 along with the premier and the leader of the Nationals. Metgasco will be dealt with after the completion of the court case on which he would not comment because it is still in court. After the purchase of PEL445 only 3% of the Lismore electorate will be under licence (Metgasco).
    I think the Nannas should now head to Grafton as the rest of the leases are in that area.

    Thomas has also stated his promises publicly on radio so there is no turning away from them. The message got through.

    As far as Ballina it was never under CSG threat as there is none there and the same for Tweed.

    Regardless of personal bias accurate reporting should be maintained.

  5. we were looking at the election results on the election results website. When about 11 oclock the results stopped coming in. Did the vote counters go to bed? At the time adam guise was in front 52.3 to 47.7 for thom geo Then it all stopped. This break at the time felt as though someone somewhere was manipulating the results somehow. It just felt as though the whole process was being interfered with. Someone once said if elections did any good they would be illegal


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