19.8 C
Byron Shire
October 27, 2021

Is the National Party having a CSG change of heart?

Latest News

Waste to energy

On Friday I attended a biomass and waste incineration event, at the Condong sugar mill, held by the Northern...

Other News

Egotistic rabble

Strident anti-vaxxers claim that COVID-19 vaccination violates their individual sovereignty and freedom. However, there’s not a beep from them...

No Ballina commemoration for 11 November

Speaking on behalf of the Ballina RSL sub-branch, Dick Wills BEM has announced that there will be no public commemoration service in Ballina for Remembrance Day next month.

Call to reject Evans Head Iron Gates DA over failure to recognise Indigenous heritage

Evans Head locals call for rejection of Iron Gates DA and recognition of the national significance of the site and its incorporation into the Broadwater National Park.

NSW – bad to worse

While Gladys has left the building and we have a new religious fanatic in the top job, things are...

NSW Education responds to Teachers Federation over Murwillumbah Education Campus staff cuts

The NSW Education Department has responded to the NSW Teachers Federation's accusation that Education Minister Sarah Mitchell has only just revealed the extent of staff cuts at the mega school.

Big Rob: ‘no comment’

The 2021 NSW Local Government elections will be held on Saturday, 04 December, 2021. Candidates have until noon on Wednesday, November 3 to register with the NSW Electoral Commission.

Knitting Nannas  spent many months outside the office of Lismore MP Thomas George calling for a gas-free northern rivers to no avail. May that be all about to change? (Darren Coyne)
Knitting Nannas spent many months outside the office of Lismore MP Thomas George calling for a gas-free northern rivers to no avail. May that be all about to change? (Darren Coyne)

Opponents of unconventional gas mining have welcomed reports that some NSW National Party politicians are lobbying their colleagues to support a ban on coal seam gas mining in the northern rivers region.

Newly elected National Party MLC Ben Franklin, who lives in Ballina, has joined forces with Clarence MP Chris Gulaptis to lobby for such a ban.

Mr Franklin used his inaugural speech in parliament recently to speak out against unconventional gas mining, making reference to Mr Gulaptis’s opposition to CSG.

He argued that a legal and comprehensive process to eliminate CSG licenses on the north coast was integral to social harmony in the region.

According to a Fairfax report this morning, they now want to take a motion to the National Party conference in the Hunter region next month.

Apart from overwhelming public support for a CSG ban, the National Party members are supported at a Federal level by National Party Page MP Kevin Hogan who has been on record a number of times saying the northern rivers region was no place for unconventional gas mining.

The new push for a region-wide CSG ban follows swings against the National Party in the northern rivers, which saw Greens candidate Tamara Smith take the seat of Ballina, and sitting members in both Tweed and Lismore only just scraping back into office.

Lismore MP Thomas George, who narrowly held his seat against Greens challenger, and anti-CSG campaigner Adam Guise, was not included in the Fairfax report but claimed prior to the election that he had worked ‘behind the scenes’ to raise concerns about CSG in the region.

The push against CSG is sure to create divisions in the governing Coalition, with NSW premier Mike Baird this week refusing to rule out extending Metgasco’s drilling licence for its Rosella site near Bentley, after suspending the licence last year amid massive community opposition.

But after being challenged and losing in the NSW Supreme Court, the government has confirmed it would not appeal against the ruling, and would instead negotiate an outcome with the mining company Metgasco.

Metgasco’s managing director Peter Henderson told ABC that reports that suggested Metgasco would sell up and move on for $80 million were speculative.

‘We’ve spent $120 million and many people would argue that if the Government didn’t want us to continue exploring, particularly after we’ve done the right thing year after year, then $120 million is the right figure,’ he said.

Nevertheless, the Lock the Gate Alliance today welcomed reports of a possible National Party change of heart on the issue.

Lock the Gate spokesperson Georgina Woods said the NSW election had sent a clear message to all political parties about community concern over the land, water and health impacts of CSG.

‘It has been clear for some time that the northern rivers’ almost universally rejects unconventional gas and it is good and right that politicians act to respond to that degree of community sentiment,’ Ms Woods said.

‘The National party have clearly listened to the overwhelming concern from the community and they should be congratulated for that.

‘This community has fought unconventional gas every step of the way, and has sadly had to resort to peaceful civil disobedience on three occasions because Government and industry would not listen.

‘A ban would help ease the stress that the threat of unconventional gasfields has put on this community over the last four years, but we hope that the Government acts swiftly and decisively to put the public interest first in the northern rivers and across the state.

‘We need legislation that makes the public interest grounds for suspending and cancelling mining and petroleum leases and licences so that politicians have the powers they need to represent the people, and not be held over a barrel by mining companies.

“We applaud Chris Gulaptis, Ben Franklin and Kevin Hogan for their efforts and encourage those Nationals sitting on the side-lines in the North West of NSW to follow their lead.”

‘We hope, too, that the National party remembers the strain that mining is having on other communities across NSW and move issue a state wide halt until proper scientific research has been completed, strict no-go zones are in place and the industry can prove it is safe.’


Support The Echo

Keeping the community together and the community voice loud and clear is what The Echo is about. More than ever we need your help to keep this voice alive and thriving in the community.

Like all businesses we are struggling to keep food on the table of all our local and hard working journalists, artists, sales, delivery and drudges who keep the news coming out to you both in the newspaper and online. If you can spare a few dollars a week – or maybe more – we would appreciate all the support you are able to give to keep the voice of independent, local journalism alive.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

Byron Bay – Main Beach’s future tabled

The range of options for protecting Byron’s Main Beach look set to be narrowed to three, after the community had its say on the crucial shoreline project.

Byron Council staff push to make Unauthorised Dwelling Policy for ‘internal use’

A contentious draft Unauthorised Dwelling Policy, put on exhibition last year by Council, has re-emerged for this Thursday’s meeting.

Cartoon of the week – 27 October, 2021

The Echo loves your letters and is proud to provide a community forum on the issues that matter most to our readers and the people of the NSW north coast. So don’t be a passive reader, send us your epistles.

Ben Smith leaving Ballina Council

The unique contributions of current Deputy Mayor Ben Smith to Ballina Shire Council are coming to an end, as he's decided to hang up his councillor hat after thirteen years, and not contest the December election.