SAFE PASSAGE: Police escort a truck from The Doubtful Creek CSG mining site in February.
SAFE PASSAGE: Police escort a truck from The Doubtful Creek CSG mining site in February. Patrick Gorbunovs

High cost of CSG protests

THE cost of the police presence at protests sites of Metgasco's Northern Rivers coal seam gas operations have been released on the NSW Parliament Website.

Answers to the questions asked of Minister for Police and Emergency Services, Michael Gallacher, revealed that the total cost for the use of the NSW Police Force, including the Public Order and Riot Squad, for operations relating to Metgasco's coal seam gas operations in the Northern Rivers area of NSW reached $81,000, not including police salaries.

They also revealed that an estimated 159 officers worked approximately 3,234 hours during the protest operations.

Aidan Ricketts, of CSG Free Northern Rivers, said he found a few issues with the figures released.

He said it was odd that the total cost figure published was non-salary only, and that he believed the full figure should be released.

"We think it's important to have the costs of policing on behalf of the mining companies in the public domain," he said.

Mr Ricketts also raised concerns over the reasons why such a large number of police were in attendance at the protests.

He said that while there should certainly have been some police at the Glenugie and Ellangowan protests, he believes the presence may have been a bit much.

He explained that during protests there were three different parties: the community, who have an agenda, the company, who have a different agenda, and the police, who have a role to maintain law and order.

Mr Ricketts raised questions about the role the police were playing at the protests.

"The question is not whether or not police should be in attendance, it's if the police objective should be identical to the company objective," he said.

The Costs:

The total cost for the use of the NSW Police Force in Metgasco's local operations was $81,000 (not including salaries)

An estimated 159 officers worked approximately 3,234 hours during these operations



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