Monday, 13 October 2014

Not happy, NSW Labor!

The NSW Labor men who betrayed the Clarence Valley:

Labor candidate for Tweed Ron Goodman, Labor candidate for Ballina Paul Spooner, State Opposition Leader John Robertson and Labor candidate for Lismore Isaac Smith. 
Photograph: The Northern Star 1 October 2014

Letters to the Editor in The Daily Examiner, 11 October and 6 October 2014:

Labor falls short
STATE Labor has fallen short on their promise to declare the Northern Rivers gasfield-free.
What political games are they playing? What plans do they have for this region?
What backroom deals have already got the nod?
The mighty Clarence River has always dominated the Northern Rivers.
We are the largest of the northern council areas. It's impossible to imagine the area not to be seen as part of the Northern Rivers.
Yet that's exactly what the State Labor Party has done.
Nothing more than empty promises from politicians.
When will governments get real and start acting on real change that benefits all, not just the top end of town.
More support for renewables is needed, not more fossil fuel madness.
Jennifer Lewis

 Labor fails on CSG

At the NSW Labor State Conference in July 2014 the following urgency motion was passed by the political wing of the party: “That Conference: 1. Notes: a) on the NSW North Coast there is overwhelming community opposition to Coal Seam Gas and Unconventional Gas mining and mining operations; b) the community's concern relates to the harmful effects of CSG mining on water quality, farm lands, the environment, communities, residents' health and tourism; c) the CSG industry has no social license to operate on the NSW North Coast; d) the NSW North Coast has unique environmental qualities; and e) CSG mining is incompatible with the NSW North Coast's important employment sectors including tourism and agriculture; 2. Condemns the NSW Liberal/National Party Government's pro-CSG fracking, drilling and expansion agenda on the NSW North Coast; and 3. Calls on the NSW Labor Party to: a) support an immediate moratorium on all CSG activities and licences within the boundaries of the State Parliamentary seats of Lismore, Ballina, Clarence, and Tweed on the NSW North Coast; and b) support a declaration that the State Parliamentary seats of Lismore, Ballina, Clarence and Tweed be 'CSG Free' and therefore be off limits to the Coal Seam Gas and Unconventional Gas industries.” [Janelle Saffin & Justine Elliot MP].

On 30 September Opposition Leader John Robertson and Labor Northern Rivers candidates at the March 2015 state election, Spooner, Smith and Goodman,  betrayed the Clarence Valley when they sent out this media release: “Labor is committed to ensuring we do not compromise the quality of drinking water supplies by allowing CSG and unconventional gas exploration within the core catchment areas. Labor will declare a total ban of CSG and unconventional gas in the Northern Rivers of NSW, encompassing the local government areas of Ballina Shire, Byron Shire, Kyogle Shire, Lismore City, Tweed Shire, and Richmond Valley. This region is pristine and stunning with World Heritage listed national parks and recreational areas. It has a unique quality of life with a blend of lifestyles ranging from alternative to agriculture. It has a mild, sub-tropical climate with a significant elderly and retirement population. The region also has the nation’s most significant internal migration in Australia. The industries of tourism, cattle, sugar and dairy all rely on the area’s natural values. The environmental values of the region are internationally significant. The development of the CSG and unconventional gas industry would fundamentally undermine these environmental assets and the economic drivers that rely on them and should not be allowed.” 

Apparently the Clarence Valley, its vital water catchment, significant environmental values and tourism, sugar cane, commercial estuary fishing, forestry, other primary production industries are less than nothing to NSW Labor as it gears up for the state election.

To say that I am disappointed, that Federal MP for Richmond Justine Elliot and former Federal MP for Page Janelle Saffin failed to follow through and ensure that Robertson lived up to the state conference resolution which sought to also protect the southern-most parts of the Northern Rivers, would be an understatement.

When I contacted John Robertson’s Sydney office I was told “at least you have the moratorium”. Well, that particular Labor policy statement has more holes than a block of swiss cheese and will give little comfort to Clarence Valley communities if unconventional gas miners come knocking at their doors.



On 29 October 2014 NSW Labor announced that it had included the Clarence Valley in its policy permanently banning coal seam gas/tight gas/unconventional gas exploration, mining and production in the Northern Rivers region.

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