This year ends on a high note for the Nats, after making real strides towards sorting two major messes Labor left behind. Under the care and attention of my good mate Niall Blair, Minister for Primary Industries, Lands and Water, we are fast moving towards ripping up the Native Vegetation Act – a thorn in our side for 20 plus years. At the same time we are introducing the country’s first Right to Farm policy.
I’m proud that the NSW Nationals are leading the way on this. Farms that have existed for generations have come under threat from other land uses including urban sprawl and complaints from neighbours. We are backing our farming sector on this. We are restoring the farmer's right to farm. The Coalition will deliver all 43 recommendations from last year’s independent review of native veg laws.
A draft Biodiversity Conservation Bill, which is reflective of the review panel’s intent, will be out for consultation shortly. You’ve been patient with us with this but 2016 will be the year of delivery and this act should be in place by the end of next year. Congratulations to Minister Blair for a job well done.
In another historic day last week, Metgasco shareholders voted to accept a $25 million buy back offer from the NSW Government for the last three Petroleum Exploration Licences in the Northern Rivers. This makes the Northern Rivers 100% CSG Free.
Labor, the Greens and all the micro parties talked a great game but it took the discipline and hard work of North Coast Nats in Government to deliver this result.
We must thank Minister for Industry, Resources and Energy, Anthony Roberts for his tireless effort on delivering the NSW Gas Plan.
Finally, as you gather your families and travel over the Christmas break, remember to stay safe at on our roads. Tragically loss of life on our roads has become far too common for many of us and in remembering those already lost. Let us all redouble our efforts to take care.