Greens Ballina MP Tamara Smith has said she will join the community in any future blockades if it becomes necessary to prevent CSG mining in the region.
The move follows yesterday’s upper house motion to establish a CSG-free zone on the north coast, which failed after National Party and Shooters Party members voted against it.
‘I won’t waiver in my commitment as the member for Ballina to see the northern rivers made gasfield free and will continue to support my local community to achieve that whether through the parliament or in direct community action,’ Ms Smith said after the vote yesterday.
‘Today’s outcome shows how important it is to have Greens in the parliament. There would not have been legislation on this issue without the Greens bringing it forward and forcing the debate,’ she added.
Nats deal with Shooters
Greens NSW CSG spokesperson Jeremy Buckingham said he was ‘bitterly disappointed’ that the bill had failed but ‘not surprised that the Shooters Party and Nationals have shot [it] down.’
The bill was supported by the Greens, Labor Party, Christian Democratic Party and Animal Justice Party, but the vote was lost 16 -19.
‘It’s shameful that the National Party have pulled out all stops to stop this bill progressing to the lower house by doing a deal with the Shooters Party,’ Mr Buckingham said.
‘It was our understanding that the bill had cross-bench support to pass in an amended form, including support from the Shooters Party. However, it seems resources minister Anthony Roberts met with them during the debate and they flipped their position’ he added.
‘The National Party were desperate to stop a bill to restrict coal seam gas coming to the lower house and putting some of their local members under pressure. They say one thing in their local communities, and another thing in Sydney.
‘The government may be able to do deals in the parliament, but public opinion on coal seam gas cannot be dealt away. It’s clear the industry does not have a social licence and will continue to be vigorously opposed in the parliament and in the community,’ Mr Buckingham said.
Last month the Greens called for the resignation of Nationals Lismore MP Thomas George after his much-vaunted CSG licence buyback scheme failed to purchase any significant north-coast licences.
Mr Buckingham described the government’s buyback plan as an attempt to ‘con voters, one week out from an election’.
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