Thursday, 3 October 2013

Why weren't the Northern Rivers' Page and Clarence electorates represented at the NSW Energy Security Summit on 26 September 2013?

Snapshot of petroleum titles & applications which cover predominately coal seam gas exploration, 30 September 2013

The new Federal Nationals MP for Page, Kevin Hogan, is fond of telling voters that he will stand with local communities against coal seam gas exploration and mining in the Northern Rivers region.

This was Mr. Hogan in The Northern Star, 30 September 2013:

Newly sworn-in Page MP Kevin Hogan says he won't be pressured by Federal Resources Minister Ian Macfarlane to support CSG in the Northern Rivers, while Metgasco chairman Nick Heath has declared the NSW Government 2km exclusion zones "arbitrary" and "illogical".....

Then in The Daily Examiner, 1 October 2013:

KEVIN Hogan says while he can see where the Coalition's pro-CSG Minister for Industry, Ian Macfarlane, is coming from, he remains opposed to unconventional gas mining in the Page electorate.
Mr Hogan was asked to give his position after the Minister for Industry told an energy security summit of gas industry stakeholders he wanted to see more CSG rigs in place "by Christmas".
He also advocated for a "one-stop CSG shop" streamlining Federal and State regulations....

Finally in The Northern Star, 2 October 2013:

New Page MP Kevin Hogan says he is "exceptionally disappointed" at Metgasco's decision to return to the Northern Rivers. In a statement, Mr Hogan says he has arranged to meet with Metgasco chief Peter Henderson next week to "convey my belief that there is currently not community support for CSG within the Northern Rivers"....
However, despite being sworn in the day before, Kevin Hogan apparently did not attend the NSW Energy Security Summit on 26 September 2013, where coal seam gas industry regulations as well as ways and means to counteract community opposition to coal seam gas exploration/ mining were subjects for discussion.

Neither did NSW Nationals MP for Clarence Chris Lazybones Gulaptis attend. One of his staffers cited the usual trite excuse - "commitments in the electorate".  Whatever these alleged commitments were they did not appear to rate a mention in the local online media.

The Northern Rivers region and, residents in the Page and Clarence electorates, should be key stakeholders in any discussions and one would have thought both Hogan and Gulaptis would have arranged to attend this summit as observers even if one or both may not have received a formal invitation.

The bottom line is that Metgasco Limited and other coal seam gas miners had a seat at the government summit table but Northern Rivers communities did not.

While Hogan and Gulaptis stayed meekly in their electorates,  Metgasco used its presence at the summit to lobby both federal and state government representatives/agencies.

Then announce on 2 October its intention to renew exploration at an unspecified date and its plan to proceed with the Rosella EO1 well approximately 12kms north-west of Casino township - a well site which may require drilling through aquifers to reach the gas and possibly also fracking to release this gas which has a hydrocarbon mix that includes methane.

These two politicians should be ashamed of themselves. Though on past performance by Nationals MPs on the NSW North Coast, I'm sure that they will not give their manifest failings so much as a passing thought in their eager rush to reach those golden parliamentary perks.

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