Bentley farmer Peter Graham. photo Patrick Gorbunovs / The Northern Star
Bentley farmer Peter Graham. photo Patrick Gorbunovs / The Northern Star Patrick Gorbunovs

'The Northern Rivers has lost out big time' Peter Graham

A NORTH Coast dairy farmer who stood to benefit from a Northern Rivers coal-seam gas industry has slammed the NSW Government for failing to "inform an ill-informed community" about the industry's benefits.

Codrington dairy farmer Peter Graham's family owns the grazing property at Bentley where Metgasco planned to drill the Rosella conventional-tight sands exploration well last year before its operations were suspended following the Bentley blockade.

Supportive of CSG

The family had signed a land access agreement with the company and was largely supportive of the industry and its potential benefits.

Yesterday's announcement has now all but ended hopes the Grahams and other farmers might benefit in some way from having the industry operate on their land.

"The Northern Rivers has lost out big time to a faction of the community that has portrayed a lot of unproven untruths," Mr Graham said.

"You've got a company here (Metgasco) which could have a gross turnover of $500 million coming out of this region.

"It means primary producers on the Northern Rivers will not have the same opportunity as primary producers in Gloucester, Narrabri or Queensland, to have a steady income source to take out the price fluctuations of drought or flood."

Industry misinformation

But Mr Graham blamed the state government for not combating misinformation about the industry, saying they were "unwilling to educate an uninformed community".

"Here the state government is scared to come to the North Coast and offer facts," he said.

"Every day we seem to be getting more information coming through to say how safe the industry is, saying fracking is safe, that water contamination is non-existent.

"All of the stories we keep getting told by our (gasfield free) friends, are just that. They're made up, yet we demolish a reputable company, a reputable industry on untruths, on non-factual information."

"This group will not allow the facts to be told for their own agenda.

"If this was the only thing I heard, I would believe it too. (But) What government doesn't listen to the industry first?

Representing CSG-pro farmers

Mr Graham said he represented one of many farmers who supported the industry but were too scared to speak out.

"Not just one or two, there's been that many in the last six months," he said.

"At least 100 people have come to us that we don't even know, some of those people we do know and we had assumed they weren't even on our side."



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