Hartcher untenable as NSW Government fails on coal seam gas

MEDIA RELEASE – 7 February 2012

The Greens NSW spokesperson on mining Jeremy Buckingham today called for Resources and Energy Minister Chris Hartcher to be moved from his portfolio as it becomes clear that the NSW government has failed and is woefully out of step with the community on coal seam gas. Hartcher No Gas

“Minister Chris Hartcher is certainly a good political fighter, but he has sided with the gas industry to such an extent that he is now fighting the community on behalf of the companies.  Voters have lost faith in his ability to make unbiased decisions for the public good,” said Greens MP Jeremy Buckingham.

“We now have the NSW Police Public Order and Riot Squad employed full time breaking blockades, arresting local residents and escorting coal seam gas drill rigs onto farms and into forests, in the Casino region of Northern NSW.

“Residents of Fullerton Cove are in court trying to stop coal seam gas being drilled near internationally important wetlands and through an aquifer that supplies drinking water to Port Stephens and Newcastle, while famers from Southern Highlands have been dragged into court by a Korean mining company forcing their way onto their land.

“The people of Sydney and the Illawarra are astonished that Barry O’Farrell will let coal seam gas loose in the drinking water catchment for over four million people, despite a pre-election promise there would be no mining in catchments – “no ifs, no buts, a guarantee”.

“In the marginal electorates of Western Sydney residents are anxious to know whether their health, amenity and property values will be put at risk by AGL drilling a coal seam gas field over their back fence.

“Barry O’Farrell must recognise that the disconnect between the current Resources Minister’s ‘let it rip’ pro-CSG attitude and community expectations that the government will listen to concerns and act responsibly is now too great to be sustained.  Hartcher must go.”

Contact: Max Phillips – 9230 2202  or  0419 444 916

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