Richmond Valley council votes to abandon CSG position

CSG protestors witness the seismic mapping of the area by Metgasco at Hockeys Lane in Casino along Ellangowan Road. Photo Marc Stapelberg / The Northern Star
CSG protestors witness the seismic mapping of the area by Metgasco at Hockeys Lane in Casino along Ellangowan Road. Photo Marc Stapelberg / The Northern Star Marc Stapelberg

RICHMOND Valley Council may jettison any attempt to find a unified position on the coal-seam gas industry at tonight's council meeting.

If adopted, a staff recommendation would allow councillors to finally speak freely about their views on the contentious issue following an informal code of silence lasting two years.

General manager John Walker said the recommendation was prompted by irreconcilable views between councillors.

"I think what the council tried to do in the past is provide a uniform view but they (councillors) felt pressure from certain parts of the community to say what they really mean," Mr Walker said.

"This would give everyone that right."

The council adopted a "neutral" position in 2012 which was later abandoned.

"Some councillors who didn't agree with our position of neutrality wanted to say what they really felt," Mr Walker said.

Then in June, councillor Robert Mustow introduced a motion for the council to revisit its position.

Since then Mr Walker said he had discussed the issue with individual councillors.

"My assessment having talked to councillors individually is that the prospect of getting a unified view is low, and that the desirability of having a majority vote is a difficult one given those in the minority won't agree with the decision and therefore shouldn't feel restrained to express their personal views."

"It's a big issue."

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