$25m Metgasco buy back shows the power of the people
MEDIA RELEASE - 2 November 2015
The Greens NSW mining spokesperson Jeremy Buckingham today said it was fantastic and historic news that the Metgasco Board had recommended shareholders accept a $25 million buyback of their controversial coal seam gas licence in the Northern Rivers of NSW, and that the offer and recommendation demonstrated the strength of people power.
“This is historic victory for people power, which through unity and determination has ejected this toxic industry from their community. The Greens celebrate and are proud to have been a part of making the Northern Rivers gasfield free,” said Greens MP Jeremy Buckingham.
“The Greens urge shareholders to accept the generous offer from the government as the only route out of a quagmire after Metgasco’s management failed to gain a social licence to drill for coal seam gas in the Northern Rivers.
“Both the company and the NSW Government wanted gas extraction to occur in the Northern Rivers, and have been dragged kicking and screaming to this position. This demonstrates the importance of a social licence, and the power of the people to stop operations that the community believes are highly detrimental.
“If the government had been truly listening to the community, rather than trying to implement quick political fixes, it may have acted in a way to stop coal seam gas without having to pay out so much taxpayer money. The Greens have moved numerous bills and amendments that would have banned coal seam gas, not only in the Northern Rivers, but state-wide.
“$25 million is a large sum, and I join many in the community in questioning whether Metgasco’s failures should be compensated by taxpayers. But in the end, $25 million is not a lot compared to protecting the land, water, communities and other industries of the Northern Rivers and to give people long-term certainty,” he said.
Greens member for Ballina, Tamara Smith said: “Many people voted Greens in Ballina and Lismore at the last election to send a message on coal seam gas. Today’s events demonstrate that voting Greens is powerful.”