Labor’s gas exploration licence was extended by Liberals

Member for Wyong and Shadow Minister for the Central Coast, Mr David Harris, addressed the PAC speaking in opposition to the Wallarah 2 coal mineMember for Wyong and Shadow Minister for the Central. Archive photo 2017

The NSW Government’s cancellation of Petroleum Exploration Licence (PEL) 461 does not tell the whole story, according to Shadow Minister for the Central Coast, David Harris.

Parliamentary Secretary for the Central Coast, Scot MacDonald, welcomed the announcement that PEL 461 had been cancelled and called it “Labor’s gas exploration licence”. Harris said the licence, granted in 2008 by the then NSW Labor Government, had, in fact, expired in 2012, and had been renewed by the current NSW Government.

The NSW Planning and Environment Petroleum Titles register confirmed that PEL 461 had an expiry date of September 4, .2012. A copy of the PEL, signed under delegation for the Minister for Mineral Resources on September 4, 2008, also showed in Schedule 1, that the licence was for a term of four years. Further documents related to PEL 461 confirmed that it was extended by the current NSW Government.

“Exploration licences were not a licence to mine,” Harris said. “It made sense at the time to identify where resources might be located,” he said. “Then a company had to submit a request to extract which would trigger a process – it was not a licence to mine. “Labor has learnt the mistakes of those times and that’s why our current policy places a moratorium on all Coal Seam Gas (CSG) extraction. “This government has a real chance to protect the Central Coast by not issuing a mining licence to the Wallarah 2 Coal Project which threatens our clean drinking water supplies by undermining our delicate water catchment.

“Labor rejected an application to mine under the water catchment in 2010. “Barry O’Farrell committed the Liberals to stop mining: Water Not Coal. “They backflipped on that election commitment to legislate to protect our important water catchment. “This would really help the Central Coast for future generations. “If the Minister was serious he would stop the KORES longwall mining proposal and not spend money buying back licences which ran out in 2012 and would never be used,” Harris said.

Source: Media statement, Sep 27 David Harris, Shadow Minister for the Central Coast

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