Friday, 4 September 2020

NSW Nationals continue to betray the Northern Rivers region when it comes to Berejiklian Government push for coal seam gas mining expansion

Echo Net Daily, September 2020:

An area of the Pilliga Forest where a CSG wastewater
spill occurred in 2011. Nothing has grown back.
Photo David Saunders.
Many of the NSW Chief Scientist’s recommendations on regulating the CSG industry will not be adopted, according to the government response.

Instead, the NSW Liberal and Nationals government claim the ‘state’s regulatory framework for resource projects and the reforms to date ensure NSW is well positioned to develop a safe and sustainable domestic gas industry’.

Of the 17 recommendations by the NSW Chief Scientist, only two are supported.

They are improving transparency of information, and reviewing all new findings in relation to health impacts, which would be included in any new CSG assessment.

The other recommendations are ‘noted’ or ‘supported in principle’ by the government.

In the reply, the government outlined what regulatory improvements had been made since the issue attracted ‘community concern’ in 2011.

The response concludes by saying that existing gas projects are winding down, and the only one ‘in the pipeline’ is the Santos Narrabri gasfield project, which is awaiting determination by the Independent Planning Commission (IPC).

No new areas for CSG exploration have been released, says the government report, ‘And if [that did happen] in the future, it would take considerable time for any potential production projects to emerge’.

As such, the report argues that the Chief Scientist’s recommendations have been achieved.

Yet there was no mention of the gas expansion expected to occur under an agreement struck between the federal and NSW government. SMH (Nine) and other media reported in January that ‘Nearly $3 billion will be pumped into NSW to increase gas supplies’.

Local Nats MLC supports his govt

When asked whether he supported his govenrment’s response, local Nationals MLC, Ben Franklin repeated his government’s justifications for not implementing all the recommendations, while accusing the committee oversight body of ignoring ‘robust CSG-related regulatory controls delivered by the NSW government’…...

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