George backs aquifers, land, CSG
STATE Lismore MP Thomas George shares community concerns coal-seam gas could adversely impact on aquifers.
He is also concerned landholders' rights are respected when miners are given land access and that prime agricultural land is protected.
But he said the State Government is doing what it can to make the coal-seam gas industry work and to allow it to "go forward".
Speaking following a protest yesterday outside his Lismore office, Mr George announced State Planning Minister Brad Hazzard will attend a public meeting in Casino on April 19.
He also announced the minister would extend a moratorium on hydraulic fracturing (fracking). About 200 attended the protest including lifelong National Party supporter Jan Buckman.
However, she was there to hand back the party campaign poster she displayed on her property at Warrazambil Creek during the March 2011 state election.
She won't vote Nationals again and claimed the party has sold out the country to CSG.
"We voted for (Mr George) so we want him to look after us and look after this region," Mrs Buckman said.
But Mr George responded saying the gov- ernment had not issued one coal-seam gas licence since it formed government.
He also said the government had listened to the concerns of the community and had released a strategic land-use policy for public consultation.
However, he described it as an "oversight" that the North Coast will not be mapped for the new policy until 2015.
Other regions, including the New England and the Hunter will be mapped this year.
"There is not one of (the National Party) that is not concerned about prime agricultural land, so we have been working on it," he said.
"Despite what everyone is saying NSW is leading the way on this."
CSG: WEEK IN REVIEW
Tuesday: Local Aboriginal elders slammed a plan by the NSW Aboriginal Land Council to apply for petroleum exploration licences.
Wednesday: Up to 100 people protested at the Casino office of Metgasco.
Thursday: Lismore mayor Jenny Dowell announced plans to seek a poll on CSG.
Thursday: Elders called on NSW Aboriginal Land Council boss Geoff Scott to visit the North Coast and explain himself.
Friday: Close to 200 people protested at the Lismore office of Thomas George.