Position statements from major parties on coal seam gas

It is very important to note that the Mountain Districts Association (under the auspices of which the Gasfield Free Mountain Districts efforts runs in the form of a sub-committee) is apolitical. We have no affiliation with any political party. We will not and are not telling anyone who to vote for. That said we recognise that only the government (generally at a state level as far as coal seam gas mining is concerned) controls the licensing of exploration an production licences. Therefore the issue has political implications. We offer the the following simply as an exercise in helping everyone understand where the candidates in the upcoming NSW election stand – all of us choose our candidates come election day based on many factors. For those of you who care about the issue of CSG the following information may help inform your choices.

We have asked each of the three major parties (Labor, Liberal and Greens) for statements outlining their position on coal seam gas mining.

Both the Labor and Greens candidates standing for election on the Central Coast were happy to meet with us, discuss this issue and work to provide us an official position statement in a timely manner. We thank them for engaging with us.

Labor:

Summary:

“Labor stands with our community and has a plan for CSG. We will:
1. Rule out CSG in defined no go zones where CSG mining will never be allowed to occur. Labor has committed to legally define core water catchment and aquifer areas across the state, including the Central Coast, to protect the water quality of local communities from inappropriate CSG development;
2. Impose a moratorium across the state and not lift it until the industry is proven to be safe, until we have mapped the aquifers, until we understand the impacts that have been highlighted by Chief Scientist in her report – coal seam gas exploration licenses would be suspended, and new ones will not be issues until the moratorium is lifted.
3. Protect gas prices by advocating for a national gas reservation policy.”

Labor’s full statement is here (PDF):
Labor Party JOINT STATEMENT – Coal Seam Gas on the Central Coast

The Greens:

Summary:

“The Greens are unequivocally opposed to coal seam gas (CSG) and other unconventional gas on the Central Coast and in the whole of NSW. We make no distinction between drinking water catchments, agricultural land, built up areas or bushland – we do not want CSG or unconventional gas exploration or drilling on the Central Coast. Our agricultural land, our water, our natural bush and our towns are too important to be placed in danger by an industry which is not necessary and which presents unacceptable pollution and health risks.”

The Greens full statement is here (PDF):
CSG Opposition CC Greens 20151208 final

The Liberal Party:

Throughout the latter months of 2014 we attempted to secure a meeting with Liberal member for Gosford Mr. Chris Holstein in order to similarly discuss our concerns and request a position statement (no Liberal party members or candidates in other seats exist nor were announced). Mr. Holstein’s office on several occasions advised that he could not meet us. Via the intervention of a Mountain Districts resident who know’s Mr. Holstein very well and who personally called him last Friday, we met with him Tuesday 5/3/2015. The discussion was respectful and potentially productive and we thank him for meeting us, albeit about four months after we first sought a meeting. However we do not have a statement from Mr. Holstein nor the Liberal party in general regarding coal seam gas mining on the Central Coast. Therefore all we can provide to try to offer an insight of his views is a press release from Mr. Holstein’s office dated December 1st 2014 and published in the Central Coast Community News December 10th 2014 (edition CCN097).

Summary:

“We have been actively listening to the community and their concerns and as a result, the NSW Liberals and Nationals Government has implemented the most comprehensive regulatory framework around CSG in the entire country, through the NSW Gas Plan. Community consultation is a key element of the approvals process and will be conducted up-front. There are no CSG approvals on the Central Coast..”

Mr. Holstein’s press release in full (image file – click to enlarge):

CCN097 - Holstein

 

 

It must be noted that there were several things in Mr. Holstein’s press release that concerned us greatly and therefore via that same edition of the Coast Community News we issued a rebuttal of the statement that “There are no CSG approvals on the Central Coast” (image file – click to enlarge):

CCN097 - GFFMD

 

 

Source for both articles: http://issuu.com/centralcoastnewspapers/docs/ccn097

Whoever you vote for on the 28th of March, vote with thought and care. Democracy is a flawed yet precious thing.

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A Mountain of resistance to Coal Seam Gas

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Over 400 residents of the Mountain Districts and the Central Coast joined together on Saturday the 28th (Feb) to declare the Mountain Districts communities Gasfield Free.

SMH journalist and former rugby player Peter FitzSimons and Cr. Greg Best (Wyong) spoke in support of the community’s intent to keep the coal seam gas industry out of the area’s water catchment and aquifers.

During the event, held at Neills Park in Kulnura, declaration documents were handed through the assembled crowd until they reached community elders Ed Morris and Betty Bromfield, before being then handed to youth ambassadors Leilani Healey and Jake Bright.

Gasfield Free Mountain Districts co-convenor Simon Perry said, “Residents of the Mountain Districts recognise that we have an inter-generational responsibility for the stewardship of this land and our water. The passing of the declaration statement through everyone’s hands, to our respected elders and onto our area’s young ambassadors represents this shared responsibility.”

The Gasfield Free Mountain Districts Declaration states:

“We, the Residents of the Mountain Districts Declare this district is Gasfield Free. We recognise that our districts are protected by the will of the community. We made this decision through community consultation and engagement. We recognise that our best defence is by standing together. If we detect any activity by gas companies here, we will raise an alert and ask their representatives to leave. We are committed to stopping gasfield industrialisation in our communities. In doing this we protect our water, soil, air and future. We will protect our communities from the destructive impacts of the coal seam gas industry.”

“Thank you to everyone who came to the event from the area, including Cr. Hillary Morris, Cr. Gabby Bowles, Greens Candidate Kate de Costa and Labor candidate Kathy Smith.”, said Mr. Perry. “With the NSW State election now just a few weeks away it is time for all standing candidates to take heed of the wishes of the community and if elected support legislation that permanently protects our aquifers, water catchments, farms and areas of environmental importance.”

The Declaration ceremony reiterates the united will of the community against coal seam gas, after a house-to-house survey conducted during 2014 found that 98.2% of the area’s residents oppose coal seam gas activity. Recently both Wyong and Gosford councils unanimously passed twinned resolutions reaffirming the respective council’s stance against coal seam gas, and standing in support of the Mountain Districts’ residents.