10 April 2012
Greens MP and NSW mining spokesperson Jeremy Buckingham has labeled the
long awaited O’Farrell Government’s coal and gas exploration license
audit a ‘farce’ noting that it failed to even identify major
environmental issues that have been publically reported.
The Audit Template asks the auditor to: “Select 3 sites of current
operation and advise if there is any activity likely to aggravate air or
water pollution, soil contamination or erosion (and to) provide
documentary evidence and photos”.
Mr Buckingham said, “Well it is clear that the auditors failed to
select sites that they already knew had problems. If already
acknowledged incidents are not identified in an audit, what faith can
the community have of the Government’s integrity in regulating this
Earlier this year Santos released a report into its Pilliga Forest
operations, formally owned by Eastern Star Gas, that “identified an
unacceptable culture in Eastern Star of accepting minor spills, failures
in reporting and the possibility of unapproved land clearing on some
Mr Buckingham said, “It appears that not one of the 20 environmental
and safety incidents self reported by Santos have made it into the
Government’s audit report. You would think that even if the Government
noted the company’s action to self report and that it would still be
included in the official figures.
“The Minister seemed to have waited until just before a long break
from parliament to release this farcical report. It is not good enough
and shows the Government’s dishonesty about better regulation of coal
and coal seam gas exploration.
“There is secrecy and failure of regulation shrouding the coal and
gas industries and this audit report only confirms the community’s
feelings that the government is putting mining interests ahead of
theirs. It is this type of treatment by the Government that is driving
the community to blockades,” Mr Buckingham said.
Contact: Max Phillips 9230 2202 or 0419 444 916