Thursday, 2 October 2014
On 30 September 2014 NSW Opposition Leader John Robertson announced state Labor’s ‘CSG Free’ Northern Rivers policy which would impose a permanent total ban on coal seam gas exploration and mining within the Northern Rivers – while at the same time he carefully excised the southern-most parts of the Northern Rivers from that ban.
It took another two days before the media deigned to notice that the Clarence Valley was not amused by Robertson’s bypassing of the July 2014 NSW Labor State Conference resolution which sought to also protect the Clarence Valley.
However, on 2 October 2014 journalist Kate Matthews finally gave this valley a voice in response in The Daily Examiner article Clarence left out in the coal:
A PLEDGE to ban coal seam gas mining in key seats across the North Coast has been criticised by an anti-CSG group concerned that the Clarence Valley remains at risk.
State Opposition leader John Robertson earlier this week announced CSG exploration and extraction would be banned permanently across the Northern Rivers if the ALP won the state election in March.
The policy does not extend to the Clarence Valley and Gasfield Free Northern Rivers (GFNR) spokeswoman Lynette Eggins said she couldn't understand why.
"Obviously we're all upset and disillusioned. To be left out is insidious," she said.
"Everyone knows the Clarence is part of the Northern Rivers.
"We should be looking at banning CSG across the whole of NSW, not just the Northern Rivers."
Ms Eggins said Clarence Valley residents were among the first to condemn the CSG mining process.
The 2012 Glenugie blockade, south of Grafton, was the first in a series of protests targeting the process.
"GFNR spokesman Dean Draper said the Northern Rivers community overwhelmingly opposed CSG mining and politicians needed to heed the message.
Greens mining spokesman Jeremy Buckingham said the Opposition should include the rest of the state in its ban.
"While the Greens welcome the Labor announcement banning unconventional gas in specific North Coast council areas, it is disappointing that Labor are making their coal seam gas policy based on cynical electoral politics rather than basic principles of protecting land, water and communities everywhere in NSW," Mr Buckingham said. "Labor were the party that unleashed coal seam gas across a third of NSW by issuing 39 exploration licences when they were last in office." Earlier this week the NSW Coalition Government extended its ban on new CSG exploration licence applications for another year.
The Daily Examiner contacted the office of Mr Robertson for comment but did not receive a response.
A protest march is planned for November 1 in Lismore, calling on the government to cancel all gas licences covering the Northern Rivers.