Lock the Gate Alliance said plans by the shadow resources spokesperson, Ian Macfarlane, to fast track Coal Seam Gas (CSG) developments in NSW would be fatal to the farming communities his National Party colleagues are supposed to represent.
"The announcement reported yesterday was a slap in the face to rural communities who have been asking the Coalition to introduce reforms to protect farmland and water resources from CSG" said Carmel Flint, Campaign Co-ordinator with Lock The Gate Alliance.
"Instead, what came out yesterday was a policy promise to strip away regulations designed to protect communities and ram through an industry that is unsafe and unwanted.
"Macfarlane's claims about securing domestic gas supply were fatuous - without a domestic gas reservation policy, any CSG produced in NSW will just be sucked into the far more profitable export market and shipped out of Queensland to Asia" she said.
"What we are seeking is a measured approach to resource development based on scientific knowledge not a mad dash for gas based on arbitrary political timelines" said Phil Laird, spokesperson for Maules Ck Community Council.
"When we met with the shadow resources minister in Canberra this year all the indications were that the coalition would not trample over farmers rights on CSG. We were told that CSG companies had been advised to stay away if farmers locked their gates to them.
"In north-west NSW, which is the heartland of Coalition voters, community surveys are showing that 96% of farmers are rejecting CSG. It seems absurd that a Coalition government would so readily betray their voters at the behest of big business" he said.
"The NSW Chief Scientist has many concerns regarding CSG developments in NSW" said Anne Kennedy, a farmer from Coonamble.
"From environmental impacts to health and access agreements, CSG brings with it many unresolved issues. What we need is science to set the boundaries for any potential resource developments, not a mad dash for gas" she said.