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MR: The Northern Rivers still at risk

A group of citizens from the Northern Rivers will travel to Sydney next week to meet with state politicians, support the Petroleum (Onshore) Amendment (Prohibit Coal Seam Gas) Bill being debated in the Upper House, and urge the NSW Government to ‘finish the job’ and buy-out all remaining gas licences in the region.

Gasfield Free Northern Rivers released a map this week which showed that there are still 5 large gas licences in the region, which collectively cover an area greater than 1 MILLION hectares in size, and the Grafton Loop of the Knitting Nannas called for Metgasco’s expired licence 426 over the Clarence to be cancelled by the Office of Coal Seam Gas.

Next week the Upper House will vote on a Bill that, if amended as proposed, would create a moratorium on unconventional gas right across New South Wales and ban gas mining in all seven LGA’s of the Northern Rivers, from the Tweed to the Clarence.

‘With the drilling suspension lifted on Metgasco earlier this year, there’s effectively nothing to stop them from continuing their work on gasfields in our region right now.’ said Gasfield Free Northern Rivers spokesperson Dean Draper.

“We still have 5 vast gas licences stretching across our region, covering an area 4 times the size of the Australian Capital Territory.  The end of September buyback deadline on gas licences looms, but our community has still not seen the action we need from the NSW Government.

‘Our delegation to Sydney next week will meet with representatives from the Nationals, the Greens, the Christian Democrat Party and the Shooters and Fishers who could all play a role in the passing of CSG moratorium bill which would then go to the Lower House for a vote.

“We’ve booked one of the rooms in Parliament House and we will be setting up a display there to showcase the magnificent Northern Rivers and all it has to offer. We’ll provide samples of local produce and have several landholders on hand to talk to Parliamentarians about our special region and why it should be protected from invasive unconventional gas mining.’

‘Our community deserves protection and have been loud and clear with their demands. Now is the time for the government step up and deliver those promises made before the election by local MP’s and the Deputy Premier, Troy Grant.  We want them to cancel PEL 426, buyback all other licences in our region, and vote for the moratorium Bill in Parliament to permanently protect our region’  he said.

For comment: Dean Draper 0427 753 748

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