Independent NSW MP Justin Field will bring forward debate on a coal seam gas moratorium bill following today’s tabling of a parliamentary inquiry report that has been scathing of the Government’s regulatory failures of the industry.
The Legislative Council Inquiry into The implementation of the recommendations contained in the NSW Chief Scientist's Independent Review of Coal Seam Gas Activities in New South Wales found that 14 of 16 recommendations from the 2014 report have not been implemented in full with half found to have not been not implemented.
Mr Field said, “The Government has had 5 years to fix this and they’ve failed. It's time for the Parliament to act and I’ll be pushing for the Coal Seam Gas Moratorium Bill to be debated in the March sitting of Parliament to press pause on this industry. This is a real test for the Nationals and leader John Barilaro as NSW Resources Minister. The Nationals have hung their hat on the NSW Gas Plan as a way to protect farmers and regional NSW, but it’s been shown to be full of holes and a fraud.
“The Government unashamedly tried to mislead the Committee and the public. Under questioning, their assertions that recommendations had been implemented fell apart. Critical recommendations around assessing cumulative risks, ensuring landholders have access to appropriate insurance against long-term risks and establishing an expert standing advisory body have not been implemented at all.
“Right now NSW taxpayers are paying $3.75 million a year to regulate the industry when the clear recommendation of the Chief Scientist was that this industry should pay the costs of its own regulation.The NSW Government is considering Santos’ proposal to put 850 coal seam gas wells in the Pilliga near Narrabri, but it’s clear that the regulatory system the is supposed to protect precious groundwater, communities and nearby farmers is full of holes.
“The Narrabri project should not go ahead. The clearest way to address the risks of this industry is now with clear legislative action to put a moratorium on the industry. It’s time the Nationals stood up for farmers and regional NSW on this issue and supported a CSG moratorium and pushed for the Narrabri Project to be rejected.