NSW Nationals announce major step towards CSG-free Northern Rivers
The NSW North Coast Nationals parliamentary team has commended an agreement by the Metgasco board with the NSW Government for the purchase of Petroleum Exploration Licences (PELs) 16, 13 and 426, which is a major step towards making the Northern Rivers coal seam gas (CSG) free.
The Parliamentary Team strongly encourages Metgasco’s shareholders to accept this opportunity.
Parliamentary Secretary for the North Coast and Member for Clarence Chris Gulaptis said the NSW Nationals are achieving for the North Coast through the successful PEL buy back process, which had reduced Labor-issued PELs in the Northern Rivers from seven to Metgasco’s remaining three.
“Once again the NSW Nationals team as part of this Government is showing they are serious about achieving for the Northern Rivers,” Mr Gulaptis said.
“I urge the PEL shareholders to accept this offer from the NSW Government, which recognises both the investment that Metgasco has made while also the community’s concerns about the industry.
“Our track record is clear - we have not issued any new licences since 2011 and instead, cancelled, reduced and bought back existing licences,” Mr Gulaptis said.
Member for Lismore Thomas George said the Government’s offer to the PEL owner followed the successful buyback and cancellation of PEL 445 covering 565,693 hectares around Kyogle, Lismore, Nimbin and Evans Head last month and of PEL 457, covering 75,000 hectares west of Yamba, in September.
“The NSW Nationals parliamentary team is committed to rectifying the CSG mess left behind by Labor and protecting our precious resources,” Mr George said.
“Labor caused this mess by recklessly handing out PELs without appropriate protections and as part of the Government we are committed to a legal and responsible process of PEL buybacks to fix it.
“To date, the NSW Government through buybacks has reduced the State’s CSG footprint to under eight per cent – a massive difference from the 60 per cent Labor left behind,” Mr George said.
The Hon Ben Franklin MLC said the Northern Rivers community should feel confident the NSW Nationals are committed to getting results.
“The community has strong Nationals Members representing them in Government to get the results they need,” Mr Franklin said.
“The NSW Nationals are proud to listen to the community, work with them and ultimately make decisions in Government.
“Today’s news show the NSW Government’s commitment to investing in the local community,” Mr Franklin said.
The NSW Government has bought back 17 PELs across the State, covering more than five million hectares.