MR: Metgasco will do anything to avoid real consultation
Metgasco’s decision to sue the government rather than to engage in genuine community consultation is simply further evidence of their recalcitrant attitude towards the community of the Northern Rivers. According to Gasfield-Free Northern Rivers spokesperson Mr Aidan Ricketts.
“Instead of a mea culpa from Metgasco, we get yet more crash through tactics. Metgasco has shown consistently that it prefers the use of massive policing or lawyers at 40 paces to genuine community consultation”, Mr Ricketts said.
“The glaring irony is that when faced with the argument that they have failed in their community consultation obligations, their response is a combative one. It is a self defeating proposition”
Metgasco’s Rosella drilling operation was suspended last month as up to 10 000 people prepared to face hundreds of police at the Bentley blockade. Neighbouring farmers also complained of severe failures in Metgasco’s obligations to consult with them.
“The government’s action in suspending the license was a rare example of a government listening to the overwhelming majority of a region opposed to industrial gasfield development, but Metgasco still wont respond to that community concern”, Mr Ricketts said.
“What this litigation really reveals is the problem with our mining laws. They clearly favour the industry over the public interest at every turn. The resources under the ground belong to all Australians and government needs to have the power to regulate the industry in the public interest without being subjected to litigation when they take reasonable action.”
The state government recently repealed the public interest ground for the cancellation of mining and petroleum licences.
“It would not be faced with this litigation now if it had retained that power to cancel mining and petroleum licences on public interest grounds, Mr Ricketts said.”
“Mining legislation needs a complete overhaul so that proper democratic and public interest values are given precedence over cosy arrangements for the industry”, he concluded.
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