Labor, the Greens, the Shooters, Fishers and Farmers Party and the Animal Justice Party joined together with independent MLC Justin Field to pass the Coal Seam Gas Moratorium Bill last night in the NSW Legislative Council (Upper House).
‘A victory for the communities fighting for years to protect land, water and climate from CSG (coal seam gas) and fracking,’ said Mr Fields on his social media feed following the vote.
‘The wide cross-section of political support that led to the passing of the coal seam gas moratorium Bill overnight in the NSW Legislative Council is a tremendous show of support for communities battling the Santos Narrabri gas project in the north west,’ say the Lock the Gate Alliance.
‘It is also a pledge of support for the CSG findings of NSW’s Chief Scientist.’
Lower House a big hurdle
The Bill was introduced by Mr Fields first in the Upper House and will now go to the Lower House (Legislative Assembly) for debate. For it to become law it will need to be passed in the Lower House where the Liberal and National parties hold the majority. The CSG Moratorium Bill was opposed in the Upper House by both Liberal and National party members and to pass in the Lower House it would require support from at least one member of the Liberal or National party.
Lock the Gate NSW spokesperson Georgina Woods and MLC Justin Fields have urged Liberal and National MPs to support the bill when it comes to the Lower House for debate.
‘Next it will be debated in the Legislative Assembly and we need a National member to stand up for farmers and regional communities and cross the floor so it can become law,’ said Mr Fields.
Where do your MPs stand?
‘Last night’s debate made it clear that Bill is necessary in part because the Berejiklian government has spectacularly failed to deliver its promise to implement the Chief Scientist’s recommendations for managing the risks of coal seam gas,’ Ms Woods stated.
‘Government members will now have to think carefully about where they stand. We urge them to hold faith with the NSW Chief Scientist’s recommendations and the farming communities fighting to protect groundwater from coal seam gas,’ she said.
‘If they had done that work, we do not believe Santos’ polluting Narrabri gasfield would still be threatening the Great Artesian Basin water recharge zone.
‘As the parliament found earlier this year, the majority of the Chief Scientist’s recommendations on CSG are still not in place, so this polluting, toxic industry absolutely should not be allowed to continue in NSW.
‘We’re enormously grateful to Justin Field for preparing this Bill, and working in the Upper House to secure its broad support and passage. The Labor Party, Shooters Fishers and Farmers, Greens and Animal Justice have kept faith with the community and the science and that has given us a great deal of hope.
‘Farmers have spent more than a decade fighting this project, while also contending with the spirit crushing drought. It’s time for the NSW government to support this Bill and keep its promises on coal seam gas.’
♦ Local Nationals MP for Tweed Geoff Provest has been contacted for comment.