Janelle Saffin calls for Nats to “stop spinning” on CSG
FORMER Labor Member for Page Janelle Saffin has called on the National Party to "stop spinning" in their push to rid the Northern Rivers of coal seam gas mining.
Ms Saffin, who was defeated by Kevin Hogan in 2013, said the Nationals were at the mercy of the Liberals when it came to CSG - and that no promise of a total Northern Rivers ban had been forthcoming from the Premier.
"Let us be clear, the Nationals are trying to act as though they have the power to stop CSG and they don't," she said.
"That power rests solely with their masters, the Liberals, namely Premier Baird.
"When you are in a major party, and even harder when in a hybrid one such as the Libs-Nats, you have to work through the party processes."
Ms Saffin's argument followed the National Party's national conference last week, in which an effort to have a Northern Rivers CSG moratorium endorsed by the entire party beyond NSW was ultimately shut down.
The NSW branch still maintains the ban as one of its core policies.
"Remember also that their (federal) party leader, Warren Truss told them at the conference that CSG was good for the economy and proven safe!" Ms Saffin said.
"So guys, stop spinning and lay it out there."
Mr Hogan and North Coast Nationals MPs Thomas George, Chris Gulaptis and Geoff Provest have supported the Northern Rivers ban that would involve buying back Metgasco's licences in the region.
He praised Deputy Premier Troy Grant for taking a public stand.
"The Labor Party issued the CSG licences on the Northern Rivers and I applaud the state leader of the Nationals Troy Grant who said he wants to buy back those licences," Mr Hogan said.
"When the NSW Coalition Government came to office almost half of the state was covered by CSG licences, this has now been reduced to 15% with even more licence buybacks currently under negotiation."
Ms Saffin admitted Labor had issued the licences but said there was more to the story.
"This was the Libs-Nats election mantra, that conveniently left out they reissued the licences," she said.
"I have said from day one, all got caught unawares by CSG and we have mining laws in NSW that are formed around big mining and have no relevance to mining in one's back yard, which is a no-no anyway."