Thursday, 27 June 2013

Nationals MP For Clarence Chris Gulaptis' weak-kneed response to the over 10,000 strong Northern Rivers 'No CSG' petition

The Northern Star 20 June 2013:

A PETITION of more than 10,000 signatures from Northern Rivers residents will be read to the NSW parliament today asking for the cancellation of all existing unconventional gas exploration licences in the region.
Greens MP Jamie Parker will read it.
"The people of this region will do what it takes to protect themselves from the gas invasion, but with this petition we are giving the government a chance to respect local democracy and do the right thing by the region," regional co-ordinator of Lock the Gate Northern Rivers, Ian Gaillard said.

Later that same day in the NSW Parliament, the Member for Clarence fails again to adequately represent his electorate in the short 21 minute period during which the O'Farrell Government played politics with the petition rather than discuss the issues:

Mr CHRISTOPHER GULAPTIS (Clarence) [4.40 p.m.]: Coal seam gas is a big issue in the Northern Rivers and in my electorate. I am neither for nor against coal seam gas. My position, and that of The Nationals, is that we have to regulate the industry to ensure that it does not impact on our land or water. In New South Wales, 1.1 million rely on gas as a source of energy. We have a responsibility to ensure that those people  can access gas at a fair price without compromising our environment. That is the approach the Government has taken. I am somewhat confused about the approach of The Greens and the former Labor Government on this matter. One minute they are for it and the next minute they are against it; one part of the party is for it and the other part of the party is against it. They have more positions on this issue than there are in the Kama Sutra....

A response from the community in The Daily Examiner 25 June 2013:

MPs in sorry state

A 10,000-signature petition from Northern Rivers residents opposed to coal seam gas was presented to the NSW Government last week.
In response to a referendum on CSG at the recent council elections, the Lismore electorate voted 87% against the industry, and it would be expected that similar percentages would have been recorded in neighbouring local government areas had the same question been posed there.
As well, the Lock the Gate survey of thousands of landholders across the region has routinely reported in excess of 90% voting to declare their roads gas field-free zones.
However, last week's petition was presented to Parliament by the Member for Balmain because our local State representatives, Chris Gulaptis and Thomas George, both refused to present it.
At the subsequent parliamentary debate on the petition, neither local member addressed the substance of the petition, instead trying to push the blame for what is occurring onto the previous Labor government.
And how dare Mr Gulaptis refer to an issue opposed by 87% of the community as the "anti-CSG bandwagon" and try to score cheap political points against other elected members.
In what can only be described as a totally irrelevant rant, he targeted our Federal member, Janelle Saffin, over the actions of NSW Labor's disgraced ex-ministers Obeid and MacDonald.
If nothing else, Janelle Saffin is once again going in to bat for her constituents, a responsibility our State representatives should remind themselves of, and hang their heads in shame for failing to do so.

John Edwards
South Grafton 

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