National Party must fix position on CSG after motion meltdown

Published: June 15, 2015

Lock the Gate Alliance has called on the National Party to urgently clarify its position on CSG in the Northern Rivers and elsewhere in the state after the attempt to have a motion about it debated at its annual conference on the weekend was aborted without the motion even being put to the vote.

Lock the Gate NSW Coordinator, Georgina Woods said, “The events of the last three days have left the people of NSW even more confused than ever as to where the National Party stands on CSG mining. A very modest motion put forward by some Northern Rivers MPs about protecting their region from CSG did not even get sufficient support to be put to a vote last Friday.

“Some segments of the Party are saying the motion didn’t fly because it was already parliamentary policy, whilst others are saying it didn’t fly because the ban it proposed should have applied to the whole state.

“Now Troy Grant is backing away from his comments supporting a ban on unconventional gas in the Northern Rivers.”

In the Northern Rivers, more than 147 communities across the region have declared themselves Gasfield Free, after a door to door survey of over 33,000 people.

Spokesperson for Gasfield Free Northern Rivers, Dean Draper said, “We welcomed the National Party moves to respond to the unmistakable will of people in our region to keep the entire Northern Rivers gasfield free. We are united in our determination to see all seven of our local Government areas protected from unconventional gas. It's critical that the National Party respond to and act on this unity. 

“Division in the National Party prevented the motion being put to the delegates at the conference and now it seems Troy Grant is backing away from his support. A political party that fails to represent the people, is a political party without a future.”

Similarly, in the North West, 96% of people surveyed in communities covering 3 million hectares have said they want their area to remain gasfield free.

Wee Waa farmer, Sarah Ciesiolka said, “Coal seam gas is not hypothetical for us: Santos are proposing a major CSG production field in the Pilliga that people across our region oppose because of the risk it poses to groundwater and the health of people in our communities. We would welcome action from the National Party to protect agricultural areas and our precious groundwater from this industry in our region, but so far, have been ignored.

Georgina Woods concluded, “We're calling on the National Party to urgently clarify their position, and to release a clear and fully articulated policy that respects the wishes of the communities that they represent, and protects our land and water resources.”

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