Protest had ‘zero bearing’ on Metgasco decision: Minister

NSW Resources Minister Anthony Roberts pictured talking with Lock the Gate's Ian Gaillard at Casino late last month.
NSW Resources Minister Anthony Roberts pictured talking with Lock the Gate's Ian Gaillard at Casino late last month. Hamish Broome

PEOPLE power was not a factor in the decision to suspend Metgasco's exploration licence, it was the company's mislabelling of the Rosella tight sands well as "conventional", according to Resources Minister Anthony Roberts.

The minister refused to acknowledge community opposition in the suspension, which Mr Roberts publicly denounced as "mob rule" in Casino last month.

"Pressure from any group, be it industry or protesters, is not a factor," a spokesman for the minister said.

Mr Roberts said in ordering the suspension he was also aware of concerns raised before ICAC.

But a spokesman said the minister would not comment on whether he was referring to alleged links between Metgasco's major shareholders and disgraced NSW Labor powerbroker Eddie Obeid.

Trading on Metgasco shares were frozen temporarily yesterday, with the company saying it was confident it complied with the PEL 16 licence conditions and was seeking to demonstrate this to the government. 

Meanwhile, oil and gas lobby group Australian Petroleum and Production Association labelled the suspension of Metgasco's PEL 16 licence as a "dangerous precedent".

It said in a statement that resources projects in the state now faced an "uncertain future courtesy of a campaign by the Greens and extreme environmental groups".

The public opposition on show at the Bentley blockade "should not mean that genuine consultation with the community has been ineffective", the association said.

Local shareholder John Vaughan said the decision would ultimately prove "embarrassing" for the government.

"(Metgasco) spent $100 million since 1996 on the Northern Rivers developing the resource and exploring. They've complied with every letter of the law in NSW," he said.

"It's like someone getting a DA approved for their house and 12 years later the council saying, 'We'll take the DA away thanks very much'.

"You expect these sorts of decisions in Third World countries, not in NSW."

Bentley landholder Peter Graham, whose family owned the property where Metgasco planned to drill the Rosella well, said "fearmongering" by Lock the Gate had not been properly addressed by the industry.

"The issue is not about gas. It's about communication."

Topics:  bentley bentley blockade csg metgasco

Ballina council votes to expand shark net trial

Ballina Shire Council has supported the trial of shark nets.

Today's vote is a big win for shark net supporters

Severe weather warning for damaging winds and hail

It is expected this afternoon's storm will hit Casino and Kyogle the hardest out of all Northern Rivers towns.

Meteorologists predict the possibility of wild weather.

North Coast film industry slams scrapping of course fee subsidies

Screenworks General manager Ken Crouch slams the government's VET shake-up.

Our booming screen industry is not a 'lifestyle choice'

Local Partners

Exterminate! Exterminate! The Daleks are coming

BCC Lismore will be screening a limited-run theatrical special presentation event of Doctor Who: The Power of the Daleks animated series from Saturday, November 12.

This is one of the most celebrated Doctor Who stories

Top 5 in entertainment this week

FULL VOICE: Dorian Mode performing the Nat 'King' Cole Tribute Show.

Here's what's happening across the Northern Rivers this week

Tom Cruise credits success to Scientology

Tom Cruise

Tom Cruise credits his success to Scientology

Hacksaw Ridge leads AACTA Awards nominations

Andrew Garfield and Teresa Palmer in a scene from the movie Hacksaw Ridge.

MEL Gibson's wartime drama opens in cinemas next week.

Top 5 events at Tropical Fruits 2016

IT'S ON: Tropical Fruits Festival over New Years.

Festival guide hits the streets this weekend

ABBA to reunite for virtual live experience


ABBA have confirmed they are to reunite - in virtual reality form

Tough times in CBD: Woolies says goodbye Ipswich

Woolworths in the Ipswich Mall.Photo: Rob Williams / The Queensland Times

The last day of trading will be January 1

Look at me! Kath and Kim home up for sale

Kath and Kim from the iconic Aussie TV series.

'Crack open the Baileys and grab a box of BBQ Shapes'

Hinterland horse stud passed in for $8.25 million

UNREAL: This Maleny estate is incredible.

12-bedroom hinterland horse stud still available

Hit songwriter's Noosa mansion on market

SPECIAL PLACE: The Cintamani estate is going to tender, marketed by Tom Offermann Real Estate.

Is this Queensland's best property?

Kiwi siblings snap up Dotcom mansion for $32.5m

The new toy company owners of the Coatesville mansion want replace any controversy with positivity and fun. Photo / Barfoot and Thompson

The trio paid $32.5 million for the property in June

New $200 million development will create 580 jobs

Cassie And Josh with baby Alfie and daughter Andee. They have bought at new Lennox Head development Epiq.

Majority of new positions will be given to Northern Rivers locals