The Lock the Gate Alliance has today released, for the first time, footage of a speech by Federal Industry Minister, Ian Macfarlane, which reveals the massive back-flip he has done on coal seam gas (CSG) mining since the Federal election.
In the speech to a group of farmers in the Darling Downs in April this year, the Minister described his 'misgivings' about CSG on the Darling Downs and said the Coalition policy was to support farmers who chose to say 'no' to CSG mining on their properties.
He even takes credit, in the speech, for proposed new laws in NSW that would place a 2km exclusion buffer on CSG mining near townships, which contrasts starkly with his comments this week he wants to see 'every molecule' of gas extracted and he will personally drive the push to remove impediments to CSG in NSW.
"Ian Macfarlane has done a double back-flip with a reverse pike on CSG since he became the Minister for Industry" said Drew Hutton, President of Lock The Gate Alliance.
"It is one of the most brazen acts of political deceit in recent memory, and it will only serve to start a huge confrontation in the bush.
"The Minister's claims that farmers in Qld have welcomed CSG, when in fact they have had it forced down their throats by heavy-handed legal rules, is disgraceful" he said.
Drew Hutton, himself a Queenslander, said the CSG industry in his state got off the ground before people knew what its potential impacts were, received government approval without key impacts being assessed and forced farmers into land access agreements through a completely unbalanced legal process.
Mr Hutton said this was not a good model to follow and New South Wales would be better advised to follow a path which sought to achieve a sound scientific base for the industry and respected landowners' and communities' rights not to have coal seam gas in their areas.
"Thousands of NSW landowners have expressed their rejection of CSG as have dozens of communities and local councils. Many community organisations, industry bodies and NGOs have done the same" Mr Hutton said.
"If the Minister thinks he can turn his back on farmers, objective scientific assessments, and his pre-election commitments, then he should think again.
"NSW communities have watched and learnt as the CSG juggernaut rolls across the Western Downs in Qld and they will not be choosing that 'road to ruin'" he said.