Saturday afternoon saw nearly 300 people pack the Rock Valley hall, determined to keep Metgasco from returning to the area explore for coal seam gas, which the company has vowed to do within weeks.
The mostly local crowd heard from Lismore mayor Jenny Dowell, among others, on council’s plans to prevent drilling on council roads and road reserves as well as crown land in the area.
Following the meeting northern rivers Greens convenor Adam Guise, who narrowly missed being elected to the seat of Lismore earlier this year, called on re-elected National member Thomas George to resign over his failed pledge that the government would buy back Metgasco’s licence.
The state government’s buyback scheme now since expired without the purchase of the licence, which lacks community support, although resources minister Anthony Roberts says the government is still in talks with the company on a possible buyback.
‘I’m proud to stand with my wonderful community who are overwhelmingly opposed to coal seam gas exploration in Rock Valley,’ Mr Guise said
‘I’m disappointed with our local member Thomas George who got re-elected on the promise to buy back PEL445. That hasn’t happened,’ he added.
‘People feel betrayed because Thomas George has failed to represent them.
‘Thomas George has not once spoken in parliament calling for a gasfield free northern rivers. The only record on Hansard is of him welcoming Metgasco to the northern rivers.’
Mr Guise also railed against Mr George’s suggestion that the council should chip in to pay for any licence buyback.
‘It’s ludicrous that Thomas George wants Lismore ratepayers to buy back coal seam gas licences, when his government can cancel licences without compensation at any time.
‘This is unacceptable from an elected member. He should resign.’