Minister wants clarity in CSG dealings
MINISTER for Resources and Energy Anthony Roberts has said he needs more transparency in dealings with multinational corporations so he can be open and honest with the people of NSW.
The minister travelled to Grafton to announce the NSW Government had successfully bought back two petroleum exploration licences in the Clarence Valley as a part of Action 4 of the NSW Gas Plan.
In a debate with Cate McQuillen, co-owner of Mememe Productions, the company behind dirtgirlworld, Mr Roberts said there needed to be total transparency in government and that the government swore an oath to serve the people.
"I want everyone in NSW to have access to the information that I have as minister.
"Unfortunately there isn't even enough transparency for the information given to me.
"Multinational corporations are lacking transparency for us. I am trying to say to these corporations 'don't come lobbying me for more gas if you aren't going to be transparent'.
"When we were sworn in to government we were sworn to serve the people of NSW. It wasn't to serve industry or big corporations. I serve the people."
Ms McQuillen believes that the issue of coal seam gas is beyond government and regulations but does agree the buy back is a step in the right direction for the Clarence Valley.
"It's interesting for us because for me it's not really a political discussion, it goes beyond politics," she said. "This is about border security for future generations.
"While I understand this is a good step in the right direction for the two PELs bought back today, there is still a massive PEL that sits in the Clarence Valley and surrounds dirtgirlworld and my home and that I am still concerned about.
"We're still looking at figures of 97% of people in the Northern Rivers regions do not want this to happen.
"That's not a political thing, that is a community thing.
"This is a conversation that is a community conversation."
Member for Clarence Chris Gulaptis was happy with the buy back of the PELs and said that it clearly showed that the NSW Gas Plan was working.
"Since our plan has come into effect in November last year we've had a number of licences cancelled, 19 applications cancelled and six licences bought back," he said.
"The Gas Plan is certainly the answer towards resolution."
The announcement of the PEL buy back was criticised by serval groups.
Gasfield Free Northern Rivers Regional Coordinator Elly Bird said that the buy back was just a cynical vote grabbing exercise by the government.
"This is a cynical and tokenistic attempt by the Liberal-National government to look like they are doing something on this issue," Ms Bird said.
"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."
Country Labor candidate for Clarence Trent Gilbert said that if Nationals were serious about getting rid of CSG they would ban it in the Clarence Valley.
"The Nationals are pro-CSG. If they were serious about protecting the North Coast from CSG mining, they would ban it across the North Coast," Mr Gilbert said.