Anti-gas activists vow to continue fighting

The CSG sign on the roof of a Ballina Road house in Lismore.

The CSG sign on the roof of a Ballina Road house in Lismore.

Darren Coyne

Opponents of coal seam gas mining are stepping up their protests and calling on the Coalition government to discard its gas plan.

They want people to attend tonight’s Lismore City Council meeting in support of an anti-CSG banner on a rooftop in Ballina Road, and to support the Knitting Nannas protest outside Lismore MP Thomas George’s office on Thursday.

The Nannas were confronted by police last Thursday but have vowed to continue with their weekly protest.

The heightened protest activity coincides with an announcement by Metgasco Limited that the NSW Supreme Court judgement associated with the government suspension of the Rosella well drilling approval at Bentley would be handed down on 24 April.

Metgasco began the legal action last year in an effort to have the suspension lifted, despite thousands of northern rivers residents vowing to blockade any gas exploration at the site.

The recent state election has also raised tensions, with National Party member Thomas George only narrowly scraping back into office in the face of growing anti-CSG sentiment.

Meanwhile, Greens NSW mining spokesperson Jeremy Buckingham has called on the NSW Government to revise its Gas Plan to ban coal seam gas after the Australian Energy Market Operator (AEMO) forecast there would be no supply gaps in NSW in the short to medium term.

The AEMO excluded both the Narrabri and Gloucester coal seam gas projects because they were not considered ‘committed projects’, but found lower demand and upgrades of interstate pipelines to allow more gas to flow from Victoria, and storage to be utilised in South Australia, meant no gas supply gaps were expected.

‘The scare campaign pushed by the coal seam gas industry has been exposed as a nonsense, ‘ Mr Buckingham said.

‘The Greens have always said there is enough conventional gas to supply NSW.

‘The Baird Government should revise its NSW Gas Plan to exclude coal seam gas, given it is unnecessary, has been comprehensively rejected by voters, and is not worth the risk to land and water.

‘IPART should also revise its decision for a 17 per cent price hike for regulated gas, which now seems based on incorrect assumptions.

‘There have been many deliberate games played by the upstream gas industry to try to scare people into accepting coal seam gas, or to manipulate the gas market in the shadow of east coast LNG exports beginning.

‘The Greens are pleased to see the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission will investigate the upstream gas industry.

‘This is something I called for during the recent NSW Parliamentary Inquiry into gas supply and cost.

‘Ultimately gas resources belong to all Australians and any cartel or other anti-competitive behaviour to exploit consumers or rip off our manufacturing sector should be stamped out.’

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