Minister Hodgkinson admits to being industry mouthpiece on coal seam gas

MEDIA RELEASE – 18 August 2014

The Greens NSW mining spokesperson Jeremy Buckingham was astounded to hear the Minister for Primary Industries, Katrina Hodgkinson read an AGL press release to answer a question about the ability of coal seam gas to coexist with the dairy industry.

Mr Buckingham asked Minister Hodgkinson whether she had read the report of the parliamentary inquiry into coal seam gas, and particularly the evidence given by North Coast dairy co-operative NORCO that they could not coexist with coal seam gas.  NORCO recently reported on their rapid expansion of its dairy exports to China.  Minister Hodgkinson answered by reading verbatim from this AGL press release.

“It’s appalling that the Minister for Primary Industries resorts to literally being an industry mouthpiece by reading our an AGL press release to answer a serious question,” said Greens MP Jeremy Buckingham.

“Except for an official tour of AGL’s coal seam gas facilities at Camden, Ms Hodgkinson seems to have put no thought into the subject and is happy to just read from an industry press release.

“She admits she has not visited the gas area near Narrabri, nor been to Queensland where the coal seam gas industry has rapidly expanded in agricultural areas, nor could she remember whether she’d read the parliamentary report into coal seam gas.

“If I were Agricultural Minister, I would have quickly visited to the United States to find out for myself how fracking for gas affects agriculture.  Instead we have an ignorant minister reliant on industry spin.

“Farmers are up in arms around the state, worried about the impact of gas and mining on their ability to farm and to source clean water, yet the minister is asleep to the issue.

“Farmers would be disappointed that Minister Hodgkinson seems disinterested in her portfolio.  Agriculture is a vibrant and innovative sector of the economy and needs a passionate advocate, but instead we have an ineffective minister.”

Contact: Max Phillips – 9230 2202 or 0419 444 916

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