Central Coast Greens have called on the region’s three newly elected local Labor MPs to support a Greens NSW bill banning coal seam gas in NSW.
The Petroleum (Onshore) Amendment (Prohibit Coal Seam Gas) Bill was introduced to the Legislative Council on Thursday, May 28 by Greens MPs, Mr Jeremy Buckingham and Ms Tamara Smith.
“In the dying days of the State election campaign, Labor announced they would introduce a ban on CSG in the drinking water catchment of the Central Coast,” said Greens NSW spokesperson, Ms Kate da Costa.
“In 2014, Mr Luke Foley refused to back Mr Jeremy Buckingham’s bill to protect the drinking water catchment of the Coast from CSG and new coal mining, so we were pleased to hear their change of heart right at the last minute before the election,” Ms da Costa said.
“We need the three new Coast Labor MPs to recommit to this position publicly, as …the bill on banning CSG is being debated in parliament.
Ms da Costa said the Central Coast Greens had attempted to contact the Labor MPs by email, sent Facebook messages, and have phoned Kathy Smith’s office.
“It took a phone call on May 28 to Mr Harris’ office to get any response at all,” she said.
“He sent us a verbal message via his staff that the Labor MPs ‘position remains the same’.
“The Greens think Labor should make a public statement explaining exactly what their position is, and if that includes a ban on CSG on the Central Coast.
“We call on them to lobby their colleagues in parliament to back this new bill. “If they don’t, residents of the Coast might think the whole thing was simply an exercise to catch green votes,” Ms da Costa said.
Mr David Harris MP, Mr David Mehan MP and Ms Kathy Smith MP responded on Friday, May 29 by reaffirming their commitment to oppose extractive industries in the Central Coast water catchment.
“The water quality issues on the Somersby Plateau are one of my highest priorities and CSG extraction has no place in such a sensitive area.” Ms Smith said.
“I look forward to the day when CSG is completely banned from the Central Coast water catchment area, as was the commitment I made at the NSW election to the people of Gosford.” Ms Smith said.
“The policy that all Central Coast Labor candidates and NSW Labor took to the NSW Election was that we opposed CSG and coal mining in our water catchment areas and we are strongly committed to that.” Mr Harris said.
“Labor has a clear commitment to a moratorium on CSG exploration until the NSW chief scientist has deemed the processes safe and there is no sign this will occur in the near future,” Mr Mehan said.
“The Liberal/ National Government needs to ensure that CSG extraction does not occur unless it is 100% safe to do so.” Mr Mehan said.
He said at this stage the Greens bill had not been presented to either house in the NSW parliament and they usually present bills to the upper house.
The three Central Coast Labor MPs are members of the lower house.
However, Mr Mehan said he has already given an indication to the greens that if the bill concerns CSG on the Central Coast, he will at least encourage his colleagues to allow a debate on the bill in the lower house.
29 May 2015
Kate da Coast, Central
29 May 2015
Jake Allen, Office of David
Interview with David
Mehan, 1 June 2015
Jackie Pearson, journalist