Protesters demand cancellation of Metgasco's licence

DETERMINED: CSG protesters in front of Thomas George’s office in Lismore, lobbying for Metgasco’s licence to be cancelled.
DETERMINED: CSG protesters in front of Thomas George’s office in Lismore, lobbying for Metgasco’s licence to be cancelled. Mireille Merlet-Shaw

COAL seam gas protesters have vowed to return to Bentley "in force" if the NSW Government moves to lift the suspension of Metgasco's PEL16 exploration licence today.

Hundreds of campaigners converged on the four North Coast Nationals MPs' offices yesterday to demand the government uphold the suspension or revoke the company's licence entirely.

In Lismore, local MP Thomas George was not available to greet the crowd.

But the spirit of the historic Bentley Blockade was in full swing as the crowd of about 150 people gave an impromptu performance of the blockade's anthem, Go Gently At Bentley.

A petition of almost 350 signatures was also delivered to his staff.

Knitting Nanna Against Gas Anne Thompson said people had no clue as to which way the government would go.

But if the suspension was lifted, people would be "ever vigilant" and "do whatever we can".

"It's going to be a bit tricky because they have moved the (Bentley) boundary, and we don't want to trespass, but we will certainly be there . . . to hinder proceedings, and to show we're against this," she said..

"It's not democratic to enforce it on a community who are so against it.

"Hopefully common sense will prevail, and the suspension will either be continued, or the licence cancelled."

Asked if people would change their mind if CSG was proven safe, she said people against the industry had done enough research to know it wouldn't be.

"We just know they can't prove that . . . the more we delve into it the more we know they will never prove that it's safe," she said.

"I've been up to the Tara estate (in Queensland), that's where families are suffering so much for being surrounded over the past 10 years by the gas industry.

"We just cannot risk that happening here . . . we cannot risk farms being surrounded by gas wells, property values dropping and air polluted - we just cannot risk that happening on the beautiful Northern Rivers."

The government is under pressure from Metgasco preparing to argue in the Supreme Court the suspension was made via an improper process and that it fully met its community consultation obligations.

If the government makes a decision that affects the company's future, it could be deemed unlawful.

Topics:  coal seam gas csg gas metgasco mining politics

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