The revelation in today's Newcastle Herald that NSW Energy Minister Don Harwin has refused the request of the offshore oil and gas regulator for a meeting to discuss the proposal for a gas field off the coast of NSW from Newcastle to Sydney is alarming, according to the NSW Greens.
In response to Marine spokesperson Justin Field's question in parliament late last week, Minister Harwin stated NOPSEMA had never sought a meeting with him and he had not sought consultation with them despite claiming he was concerned with the Commonwealth regulations were not tight enough.
"This raises the question - has the Minister misled parliament over the proposal for a gas field off NSW? And what would be his motivation for avoiding talks with the offshore oil and gas regulator?," Mr Field said today.
"Minister Harwin has been quick to distance himself from Asset Energy’s proposal for offshore drilling of gas off the NSW coastline but his lack of action to protect communities, marine life, fisheries and the ocean speaks louder than words.
"Seismic testing off the coast of Newcastle caught the community by surprise but they’re now united in demanding no oil or gas fields off the NSW coast.
"Imagine sitting on the iconic Nobby’s Beach and looking beyond the waves at oil rigs, or the massive risk of a spill off Sydney’s Northern Beaches.
"The inconvenient truth for the NSW Government is that we’re already living in the age of climate disruption and we need to keep fossil fuels in the group to mitigate the worst consequences of climate change.
"The New Zealand government recently announced a ban on new oil and gas exploration in its waters. We need the same protection here," he said.