The NSW Liberals & Nationals Government has removed a further 565,693 hectares of the Northern Rivers from Labor’s coal seam gas footprint, by delivering on the NSW Nationals’ election commitment to buy back Petroleum Exploration Licence (PEL) 445.
Member for Lismore Thomas George has announced the NSW Government’s purchase of PEL 445, which covers areas around Kyogle, Lismore, Nimbin and Evans Head.
It is the 17th PEL to be bought back by the NSW Liberals & Nationals Government which, through its Gas Plan buybacks, has reduced the former Labor Government’s coal seam gas (CSG) footprint from 60 per cent of the state to less than eight per cent.
Mr George pledged to have the PEL bought back in March this year and just seven months later and after a period of negotiation with the PEL owner, has delivered for the people of the Northern Rivers.
“The Northern Rivers community overwhelmingly wanted PEL 445 gone and I am thrilled we have made this a reality,’’ Mr George said.
“Through buybacks this Government has now reduced the number of PELs in the Northern Rivers from seven - all of them granted by the former Labor Government - to three and we are working to reduce this footprint further.
“Previously thirty-nine per cent of the Lismore electorate was covered in PELs and due to the success of our buy-back program it is now only five percent.
“I joined Deputy Premier Troy Grant in March this year and pledged to my community we would buy this PEL back, and now we are delivering again for the region. The NSW Nationals does what is in the best interests of regional communities - we listen locally and use our voice in Government to deliver.”
Mr George said PEL 445’s buyback followed the buyback of another Northern Rivers PEL, PEL 457, covering 75,000 hectares west of Yamba in the state’s Northern Rivers region.
“I am proud to once again stand here and show the NSW Government is serious about achieving results for the Northern Rivers and its residents,” Mr George said.
“Today is proof having a member of the Nationals representing you in Government is the only way to get the results you need – you have a strong representative listening to you and making decisions in Government for you.
“The NSW Nationals parliamentary team across the State is focused on rectifying the CSG mess that was left behind by Labor, protecting our precious resources and investing in our communities so they continue to thrive.’’
Further PEL buybacks are eligible to be negotiated on a case-by-case basis.