Thursday, 12 March 2015

Coal Seam Gas and mineral exploration are issues in the NSW state election of 28 March 2015 right across Northern Rivers catchment areas

On Twitter 10 March 2015

MEDIA RELEASE: 9th March 2015

Licence cancellation another cynical vote grabbing exercise by NSW Government

Gasfield Free Northern Rivers have responded with ambivalence to the announcement today that a petroleum licence in the south of the region has been cancelled. Resources Minister Anthony Roberts travelled to Grafton to announce that gas company Clarence Moreton Resources had agreed to hand in PEL 478.

“This is the cancellation of a small inactive licence. The fact remains that the current Liberal-National Government is actively supporting the roll out of the CSG industry across large parts of our region,” said Gasfield Free spokesperson Elly Bird.

“This government has already renewed Metgasco’s most active CSG licence areas (PELs 13 and 16), as well as the largest licence area in the region (Igas’s PEL 445), which covers Lismore, Nimbin and Kyogle and parts of the water supply area of major towns across the region, including Ballina and Byron Bay.”

“This is a cynical and tokenistic attempt by the Liberal-National government to look like they are doing something on this issue when they could have acted decisively long ago by refusing to renew the Metgasco and Igas licences that were quietly renewed despite repeated calls from the community for their cancellation.”

“The communities of this region are not stupid and will not be deceived by this latest gimmick from the government. They are angry that our local Nationals MP’s have the audacity to repeatedly ignore the community’s wishes over many years only to mock them with token actions at election time,” she said.


Janet Cavanaugh
Greens Candidate for Clarence
m. 0429 479 968; e.

9 March 2015


The Greens have criticised the Government’s announcement that two Petroleum Exploration Licences (PELs) held by Clarence Moreton Resources Pty Ltd will be cancelled.

Greens candidate for Clarence, Janet Cavanaugh said:

“Today’s announcement is too little, too late. It is merely tinkering around the edges.

“The timing is just cynical electioneering. Both PELs expired in 2012 and could have been cancelled at any time.

“I am concerned that the Government is wasting taxpayers money on this electioneering stunt. Under the Petroleum Onshore Act*, no compensation is payable for the cancellation or suspension of exploration licences.

“Why is the Government paying off their mates in the mining industry?

“There can be no basis for compensation, particularly if there has been insufficient investment in exploration works in the licence area or any other breaches of licence conditions. The Clarence Alliance Against CSG is not aware of any onground works in PEL478.

“In PEL479, there have been substantial complaints about the drilling of the Annvale Borehole in 2011,” she said.

Greens spokesperson on mining, Jeremy Buckingham MP said:

“The Greens are not impressed by the cancellation of these PELs. “We would have been more impressed if Metgasco's PEL426 had been cancelled. It expired more than 12 months ago and should also be cancelled.

“PEL426 is the PEL with the Glenugie drill site. Metgasco’s attempts to drill here were met by concerted community action and a lengthy blockade. Drilling only proceeded after the
riot squad was brought in, at great expense to taxpayers.

“The Greens are the only party to have a position of being totally opposed to all unconventional gas mining and exploration in NSW - that's coal seam gas, tight sands
gas and shale gas. It just isn't worth the risk to our land and water,” he said.

* Section 22(5) of the NSW Petroleum Onshore Act 1991 states:
“No compensation is payable by the Crown for or in respect of the cancellation of, or a suspension of operations under, a petroleum title.”

Meet the Candidates at Dundurrabin
The Blicks River Guardians invite you to attend an afternoon tea with NSW election candidates at Dundurrabin Community Centre, 4pm on Sunday 15th March.  This event, on the beautiful Dorrigo Plateau, provides a great opportunity for you to come and meet the candidates from both the Oxley and Clarence electorates.  There will be time for Q & A about the issues that are important to you and following at 6pm will be a community dinner (bring a plate to share) and a fundraiser for the Blicks River Guardians with local musician and songwriter Noam Blat.
Mineral exploration on the Dorrigo Plateau and across the New England fold belt has increased in recent years.  The Clarence catchment has a number of active exploration leases for gold, antimony and other minerals, with Anchor Resources prospecting near the Blicks River at Dundurrabin and at Wild Cattle Creek near Dorrigo.  Also on the Clarence,  Australia United Mining (Altius) is exploring for gold in the Orara Valley near Coffs Harbour.  The Hillgrove mine in the Macleay catchment has plans to reopen with a proposal for a second mine awaiting approval.  Other large gold and mineral exploration leases are active at Uralla and Armidale.
The increase in mineral exploration above coastal water catchments across our region concerns local residents.
“Some of this exploration is being supported with taxpayers money by the state government, despite the list of contamination events that have polluted regional waterways in recent decades,” said Blicks River Guardians’ spokesperson Meredith Stanton, “Major rainfall events have led to heavy metal contamination polluting the Clarence River at Timbarra in 2001, the Macleay River at Bellbrook in 2009 and at North Parkes a gold and copper mine spill killed birds in 1995.  There are many more documented examples across NSW and more than 500 derelict mine sites that companies have walked away from leaving a legacy for NSW taxpayers.”
The Blicks River Guardians consider mining to be an inappropriate land use on the Dorrigo Plateau and aim to protect our high rainfall area from future mining development.  Local communities rely heavily on tourism and the local agricultural industry.  The risks that an open cut mine would bring to our catchments are not worth the few jobs that might be available to local people if mining development were to be approved. 
BRG will be asking the NSW election candidates where they stand on mining in our water catchments.  To learn more about BRG visit
To ask the candidates about important local issues come along to the public event at:
Dundurrabin Community Centre,  Armidale-Grafton Road,  Dundurrabin.
Date:  Sunday 15th March 2015
4 - 6pm - Meet the Candidates.  Afternoon tea provided
6 - 7pm - Dinner.  Bring a plate to share.
7 - 9pm - Music. Noam Blat 
For event information call  02 6657 8040.


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