Lock the Gate Alliance have welcomed news today that NSW National MPs are seeking to change party policy and support a ban on coal seam gas (CSG) operations in the Northern Rivers.
Lock the Gate spokesperson Georgina Woods said the NSW election had sent a clear message to all political parties about community concern over the land, water and health impacts of CSG.
The National Party was working to reverse its support of unconventional gas as a direct result of an unprecedented social movement that sent a clear and unmistakeable political message at the State Election , she said.
“It has been clear for some time that the Northern Rivers’ almost universally rejects unconventional gas and it is good and right that politicians act to respond to that degree of community sentiment. The National party have clearly listened to the overwhelming concern from the community and they should be congratulated for that,” said Ms Woods.
“This community has fought unconventional gas every step of the way, and has sadly had to resort to peaceful civil disobedience on three occasions because Government and industry would not listen.
“A ban would help ease the stress that the threat of unconventional gasfields has put on this community over the last four years, but we hope that the Government acts swiftly and decisively to put the public interest first in the Northern Rivers and across the state. We need legislation that makes the public interest grounds for suspending and cancelling mining and petroleum leases and licences so that politicians have the powers they need to represent the people, and not be held over a barrel by mining companies.”
"We applaud Chris Gulaptis, Ben Franklin and Kevin Hogan for their efforts and encourage those Nationals sitting on the side-lines in the North West of NSW to follow their lead."
“We hope, too, that the National party remembers the strain that mining is having on other communities across NSW and move issue a state wide halt until proper scientific research has been completed, strict no-go zones are in place and the industry can prove it is safe,” said Ms Woods.