Residents hit the streets to protest coal seam gas in November last year.
Residents hit the streets to protest coal seam gas in November last year.

Nationals push for Northern Rivers gas policy change

GASFIELD Free Northern Rivers says it is happy to hear the news that several Northern Rivers MPs are working to change the NSW Government's policy on unconventional gas by calling for a ban for the Northern Rivers at next month's National Party conference.

Fairfax Media reported yesterday Clarence MP Chris Gulaptis and Nationals MLC Ben Franklin are working behind the scenes for a change of policy and to offer Metgasco compensation for ending its plans to mine coal seam gas in the region.

"It's the biggest issue of concern coming out of the election," Mr Gulaptis told Fairfax media.

"It would be wrong to ignore it - the community wants a gasfield-free Northern Rivers."

Gasfield Free coordinator Dean Draper said, "It's obvious that the results of the NSW election, when Ballina changed to the Greens and other areas of the Northern Rivers very nearly changed as well, have driven home the message that the overwhelming majority of the Northern Rivers wants to remain gasfield free.

"We support our MPs in their call to ban unconventional gas in our region. This invasive industry is inappropriate for our highly populated and fragile ecosystem.

"We applaud Chris Gulaptis, Ben Franklin and Kevin Hogan for standing with their community and look forward to Thomas George backing them in their move to ban unconventional gas here."

Metgasco has said it is "keen and ready to drill" after the State Government confirmed it would not appeal the Supreme Court's decision to overturn the government's suspension of the mining company's licence.

Fairfax Media has also reported Metgasco might try to recover $80 million "for damages" from the State Government.

"We would like to meet with (the) government to discuss the damage caused to Metgasco as a result of the suspension decision and the future of the gas industry in the Clarence electorate," the company's managing director, Peter Henderson, told the Australian Stock Exchange.



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