The Lock the Gate Alliance has applauded today’s announcement by Resources Minister Anthony Roberts to cancel three NSW petroleum exploration licences, describing the decision as a significant victory for the community.
National coordinator for Lock the Gate Phil Laird said it was a landmark ruling and the first real test of the Office of Coal Seam Gas and its regulation of the industry.
“Importantly this sets a legal precedent and shows what the community has to do to get a PEL cancelled,” Mr Laird said.
“If a company fails to do what is legally required they should loose their PEL.
“This decision shows that the Minister can act without fear or favour. It follows years of community action against the inappropriate nature of coal seam gas exploration and mining in our most fertile food growing areas.
“We congratulate the minister for his decision and we congratulate the work of dryland farmer Penny Blatchford and the Bellata Gurley Action Group Against Gas for their tireless campaign to protect the land, water and future of their region.
“Four years of hard fought, time consuming investigative work and campaigning by the action group shone a light on the failure of the resources company to meet the legal requirements of their own licences. It was this work that led to today’s decision.
“This is a landmark ruling that gives hope to each and every community battling CSG mining and exploration on agricultural land.
“The three licences held by Leichhardt Resources were cancelled because the company failed to consult with traditional owners and the community, and failed to meet their work program, a breach of their licence conditions.
“There are other PEL’s across the state that have breached their own conditions in the same ways, and we are now waiting for more cancellations.”
The three cancelled PELs are 468 near Bylong, 469 in the Southern Highlands and 470 near Moree.