Community representatives attending a meeting with Federal Industry Minister Ian Macfarlane in Canberra on Tuesday will warn the minister that the industry will face a ‘world of pain’ if it attempts to impose itself upon the Northern Rivers.
The warning comes as new research released by Southern Cross University has found overwhelming opposition to the industry even in Casino and the Richmond Valley where the industry had formerly claimed to have support. The University’s survey conducted across all Richmond Valley booths on the day of the Federal Election revealed a massive 65% opposed the industry and a mere 18% in support. The report also observes that opponents remain less likely to change their mind in future than industry supporters. “This new data is a major blow to Metgasco’s plans to recommence its exploration activities in theNorthern Rivers and to the push by the federal industry minister to forge ahead with unconventional gas development in NSW,” said Mr Ian Gaillard of Lock the Gate Alliance.
Ian Gaillard went on to say , “This region has shown that it does not want this unsafe and unnecessary industry and we have shown that people of all political persuasions are prepared to act to keep it out. The minister has convened a meeting seeking a way forward for the gas industry in the Northern Rivers and we would be more than happy to work together to find an exit strategy by which Metgasco can minimise its losses.
Exploration companies are always considered high risk ventures and Metgasco and the Federal Government really need to admit that its time for Metgasco to move on permanently. They came to the region talking of the need for a social licence and now they can’t even manage 20% support in the area where they have been most active. The Northern Rivers is a peaceful, united community that values the quality of air, water and our productive farmland and biodiversity. Existing industries are threatened by gasfield developments and the community is united in its opposition.
The minister needs to respect the will of the people as evidenced in these polls and surveys and the views of the federal members for Page and Richmond who both oppose gasfield development.