MR: Metgasco gets slap down in Supreme Court for premature document search
Media Release 10 July 2014
In a Supreme Court decision on Wednesday 9 July,1 Justice Davies has ruled against Metgasco’s premature attempt to obtain documents used by the Office of Coal Seam Gas in making its decision to suspend Metgasco’s Petroleum Exploration Licence 16 over farmland at Bentley.
“Metgasco’s attempt to rush the court process by seeking to obtain documents prematurely has been slapped down by the Supreme Court of NSW, and Metgasco ordered to pay costs. Rather than following due process, Metgasco is intent to rush the court process by prematurely seeking documents that will eventually be produced in due course,” said Gasfield Free Northern Rivers spokesperson, Ian Gaillard.
“This judgement highlights the significant volume of documents generated by Metgasco’s failed community consultation, with some 1032 documents amounting to 50,155 pages identified as being potentially relevant to the decision.2
The court’s view was that the production of this volume of documents at this stage was ‘premature’ and ‘oppressive’,3
“The decision by the Office of Coal Seam Gas to suspend Metgasco’s drilling operations at Bentley is correct and justified in light of the significant failure of Metgasco to undertake adequate community consultation.
Metgasco’s attempts to overturn this decision is a last ditch attempt by a failed company that has no future in the Northern Rivers,”
“While this is an interim judgement by the court in the leadup to the full hearing in October, it demonstrates Metgasco’s unwillingness to work with the government by addressing its significant community consultation failings. While Metgasco continues to use these bully-boy tactics, it will never obtain a social licence to operate in the Northern Rivers,” concluded Mr Gaillard.
Ian Gaillard 0431 108 784
1 Metgasco Ltd v Minister for Resources & Energy  NSWSC 908,
http://www.caselaw.nsw.gov.au/action/PJUDG?jgmtid=172559, para 25
http://www.caselaw.nsw.gov.au/action/PJUDG?jgmtid=172559, paras 25 & 27