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Bellata withdraws social licence for CSG, Hartcher must do the same

Bellata, Gurley, Terry Hie Hie farmers withdraw social licence from Leichhardt Resources: Hartcher must now withdraw government licence.

The Bellata Gurley Action Group Against Gas (BGAGAG) has lodged a submission to the Director General (DG) of Trade & Investment objecting to the renewal of PEL470 held by Leichhardt Resources Pty Ltd.

The Petroleum Exploration Licence is due to expire on 30 April 2012.

Minister Chris  Hartcher (Energy & Resources) invited Chair Mrs Penny Blatchford of the BGAGAG to write to the Director General in December 2011.

The  objection outlines factual evidence of Leichhardt's breaches to the Petroleum (Onshore) Act 1991 Sections, Regulations and Licence Conditions.

The submission provides details that Leichhardt has not met its work schedules or reporting requirements. That the company does not have the financial, technical or operating capacity  to hold a licence for exploration or mining. And that Leichhardt provided incorrect and misleading information to the Department of Primary Industries in its reporting. In particular with respect to the areas soils and value to agriculture.

At Mr Hartcher's request, Chair Penny Blatchford has presented Minister Hartcher with signed objections to the renewal of PEL470 from every single landowner with property covered by the PEL and asking for no further licence to be granted over the area.

“This show of unity is unprecedented and reveals the extent to which Leichhardt Resources has NO SOCIAL LICENCE to operate,” Mrs Blatchford said.

The document also provides evidence of the soil types of the area. The vertosol soils which dominate the PEL are soils that are found only in small pockets across Australia. Vertosol soils are of national significance. These soils referred to  as “black earths” are heavy black cracking soils, highly erodible and not suitable for mining or CSG infrastructure. These soils are of high agricultural value and renowned for their high agricultural output.

To manage this environment in agriculture landholders have successfully built substantial and valuable works such as contour banks and invested millions of dollars and time in soil conservation works and  precision farming practices.

Penny Blatchford Chair of BGAGAG says “our letter of objection has taken 12 months to complete and has been made possible by the donations, commitment from our Executive Committee and united support of landholders in PEL470 and community at large”.

“I am very proud to be a part of this community and thankful for their 100% full support. We hope now the NSW Government takes seriously this formal letter of objection and its findings and makes a responsible decision in line with our community expectations”.

Ministers commonly are quoted saying  “leave the emotion at the door and present factual evidence.” This document contains only factual evidence. However this document could  not have been written without the love and commitment to the land and agriculture & respect for the region and the community that the Bellata, Gurley and Terry Hie Hie landholders have.

“The submission is factual but would never have come to fruition without our emotional commitment and drive,” Mrs Blatchford said.

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