Inquiry needed into coal seam gas licences

MEDIA RELEASE – 30 September 2013

The Greens NSW spokesperson on mining Jeremy Buckingham has called for an inquiry into the issuing of coal seam gas licences in NSW, after revelations that companies with no experience or real financial backing have been granted petroleum licences, as well as a company owned by Mr Travers Duncan and Brian Flannery who were involved in the recent ICAC investigation into Mt Penny coal licence.

“There are a large number of unanswered questions about the original issuing of petroleum exploration licences in NSW, which cover one quarter of the state, as well as questions over recent renewals of many of the licences by the O’Farrell Government,” said Greens MP Jeremy Buckingham.

“It’s concerning that $2 companies with no expertise or financial backing have been granted licences which give them the power to force their way onto a property to drill for coal seam gas. That some of these licences cover Sydney’s drinking catchment or prime agricultural land only underlines this concern.

“Under the Petroleum Act, licence holders have the ability to access private property for exploration purposes. So the granting of these licences confers considerable power on private companies.

“Either Ian Macdonald or Eddie Obeid were the minister for resources for the majority of the last Labor decade in office when many of these licences were granted or renewed. Given the revelations at recent ICAC hearings, many in the community are concerned about how these licences were granted.

“PEL 475 was granted by former minister Ian Macdonald to Travers Duncan and Brian Flannery’s company Drequilan in 2009. These two business men were investors in the Cascade Coal Mt Penny coal licence.

“The public has lost confidence in the administration of mining in NSW and is aghast at the huge areas covered by licences to coal seam gas. Only a thorough inquiry into how these licences were granted and then renewed by the current government can restore public confidence.”

Contact: Max Phillips – 9230 2202 or 0419 444 916


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