Greens candidate for the Clarence by-election, Janet Cavanaugh, today responded to the Labor Party’s back flip on coal seam gas mining, admitting surprise at their new found support for Greens’ policy and reversal on the policy direction they took when in government.
Ms Cavanaugh said: “While I welcome the fact that Labor is finally responding to community concerns about coal seam gas mining by urging the suspension of all exploration licences before irreparable damage is caused to our groundwater reserves, I am suspicious of the timing.
“I suspect that this announcement is just a desperate grab for relevance in the lead-up to the Clarence by-election, which I identified as a referendum on mining.”
Ms Cavanaugh urged the electorate to remember Labor’s track record on coal seam gas mining.
“Labor set the coal seam gas industry loose on NSW – they issued exploration licences and allowed drilling to occur without any detailed environmental impact assessment.
“And Labor continued the exemption for gas mining companies from paying royalties for 5 years, so that the state’s budget would not even benefit from the gas rush.
“I ask the electorate to remember that we are only facing this risk to our land and water because of the decisions Labor took while in government,” she said.
The Greens NSW mining spokesperson, Jeremy Buckingham MLC, has also welcomed the NSW Labor Party's back flip and believes their position now makes it possible for his Coal Seam Gas Moratorium Bill to pass through the NSW Upper House.
Mr Buckingham said: “The Labor Party's position now mirrors the Bill, and I look forward to their support when it gets debated in the Legislative Council this Friday.
“A recent Galaxy poll showed 68% of Australians want a moratorium on coal seam gas. So do the NSW Farmers, the Greens, Lock the Gate Alliance, Alan Jones, Nature Conservation Council and now the NSW Labor Party. Even the Nationals are urging more controls on the industry.
“The O'Farrell Government is now out on a political limb. It's time for the Premier and the Liberals to get on board,” he said.
The Coal Seam Gas Moratorium Bill will be debated this Friday. Information on the bill is available at: http://www.jeremybuckingham.
Contact: Janet Cavanaugh – 0429 479 968
Jeremy Buckingham – 0439 460 691
Suspicious of the timing!!! How convenient for Labor to change its policy one week before the folk of Clarence electorate vote. How credible is this change when Qld Labor is busy advocating CSG mining and NSW Labor issued the licences? Do not be surprised if Labor changes its position again.