Region ‘left to fend for itself over CSG’ by Nats MPs

Residents in the northern rivers have been left to fend for themselves against current and future coal-seam gas (CSG) developments by National Party MPs for the region, NSW Labor says.

During a division in NSW Parliament yesterday, National Party MPs voted against Labor’s Coal Seam and Other Unconventional Gas Moratorium Bill 2015.

Shadow energy minister Adam Searle said the Bill ‘sets out in full the commitments Labor has made before, during and since the 2015 state election regarding coal seam gas in NSW’.

But National Party MPs for the northern rivers (Lismore MP Thomas George, Tweed MP Geoff Provest and Clarence MP and Parliamentary Secretary for the North Coast Chris Gulaptis) voted against the Bill aimed at protecting their electorates.

Mr Gulaptis told media this morning that his government was committed to a CSG-free northern rivers and that’s why it was buying back exploration licences such as PEL 445 and also negotiating with Metgasco over its licence in the region.

Earlier this year, Mr Gulaptis had publicly supported protecting the region from CSG developments, telling the Sydney Morning Herald that CSG was ‘the biggest issue of concern coming out of the election… it would be wrong to ignore it – the community wants a gas-field free Northern Rivers.’

Under Labor’s Bill, the Northern Rivers of NSW and the Greater Blue Mountains World Heritage Area would be permanently protected.

Mr Searle said ‘there would also be permanent “no go” zones including core water catchments, residential areas, National Parks, wetlands, critical industry clusters and prime agricultural land’.

‘The hypocrisy of the National Party in the northern rivers is unbelievable,’ he said.

‘They need to back their constituents instead of just doing what they’re told by the Baird government.

‘Communities in the northern rivers have made it clear that CSG has no place there – unfortunately these MPs haven’t been able to understand the message.

‘Parliamentary Secretary for the North Coast Chris Gulaptis said it would be wrong to ignore the community opposition to CSG yet he voted against a bill that would have supported the community’s interests,’ Mr Searle said.

The Greens’ energy spokesman Jeremy Buckingham told media the government also failed to support their bill for ‘no-go’ zones for CSG in the regions to protect industries such as dairy, sugar cane, tourism and cultural and significant heritage areas.

Mr Buckingham said it was ‘bizarre’ that the government didn’t want to support the no-go zones as they had already approved them for the equine and viticulture industries in the Hunter Valley.


One response to “Region ‘left to fend for itself over CSG’ by Nats MPs”

  1. Liz says:

    This behaviour by the Nationals beggars belief. They are obviously unable to be anything but Liberals under a different name. Why on earth does the very idea of voting with Labor, to achieve promises made to those who elected them, appear to be a “no-go” zone. A coalition should not be a voting group where the larger/ more powerful member gets to call the shots & decide the policy & legislation without respect for the constituents of the “junior” member. I no longer believe that the Nationals really exist as a political party. They certainly don’t stand up for country, rural & remote people. They always kow-tow to the Liberals (must have lost the ability to think for themselves – and gone deaf). It’s of great concern as the NSW government has a very bad habit of being obsessively city-centric. The Nationals behaviour dis-empowers those who do not live in Sydney (or at a stretch Gong to Castle), stripping them of their vote in effect. I can only conclude that they have fallen under the spell of money & deals & miners & property developers & personal greed – a parlous NSW disease (now well documented by Royal Commissions). Heck – I think we should go for two-tiered government (Local & Federal only – the State just sucks the taxpayer dollars into back pockets & inefficiences/ duplications/ profligate waste and other office based centralized nonsense). Wait a moment – didn’t we consider making the Northern Rivers Region a separate state – sounds like a good idea to me & worth revisiting.

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