Page stays mute on gas issue

IF HE has an opinion on the use of coal-seam gas, Ballina MP Don Page seems intent on keeping it to himself.

Following revelations that New South Wales could face a domestic gas supply shortage by 2014, Mr Page has been repeatedly asked if he would back a State Government push to tap into CSG.

In the State's submission to the Federal Government's draft white paper on energy, it is suggested CSG is the solution to heading off supply shortages.

Many Coalition MPs have voiced their opposition to use of the resource because of the potential impact it could have on farmers and land owners.

Lismore MP Thomas George, who has historically been reluctant to comment on the issue, this week admitted he would back the submission so long as it did not have an "unreasonable" impact on farmers.

When asked if the Government had received the support of the State's National MPs in Northern NSW, including Mr Page, Resources Minister Chris Hartcher would only say the submission "is a whole-of-Government response".

Calls and emails to Mr Page have gone unanswered.

Lismore Council Deputy Mayor Isaac Smith said he was surprised local MPs were not reflecting what he believes to be a "very strong local movement" against CSG.

He said the September local council referendum on the issue would send a clear message to the State's decision-makers.

"We will see if it is the opinion of the majority of residents or just a 'noisy minority'," Cr Smith said, "but I believe the poll will reflect that the majority are against CSG.

"If that is what happens, I hope that when faced with clear data, politicians, no matter which party they are aligned to, listen."



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