Protecting NSW from CSG: Easier said than done for Chris Hartcher
With the introduction of the Strategic Regional Land Use Policy the NSW government has given the coal and gas industries the green-light to roll-out across the state. This policy has disappointed farmers and much of regional NSW who expected protections for agricultural industries. It seems that the men behind the controversial land use policy that rules nowhere off-limits to mining were singing a different tune during their time in opposition.
Before Chris Hartcher became the state government’s Minister for Resources and Energy he used his time in opposition to speak up for his Central Coast constituents.
Here is part of a contribution he made in the NSW Legislative Assembly in 2005, criticising the record of the coal seam gas industry in the state and pointing to issues experienced in the United States:
It is well-known that in the northern Pilliga forest, massive environmental damage was caused by Eastern Star Gas at its Bohena No. 2 drill site as a result of exploration practices. Experiences in the United States of America, and in the State of Wyoming especially, clearly demonstrate disastrous problems associated with this industry through groundwater loss, contamination and waste water. [...]
We face a serious issue and we are entitled to a better explanation from the Government.
Well, coal seam gas is still a serious issue and we are still entitled to a better explanation, only now we need that explanation to come from a government that Hartcher plays a key role in. The Pilliga remains in a desperate state, and so the community locks the gate and blockades to protect itself where the government will not. Meanwhile, Hartcher and his colleagues use the land use policy release to rubber stamp exploration licence renewals across the state.
Read Hartcher’s 2005 speech in full here.
And here’s another opposition moment: Hartcher and the man who is now our Premier, Barry O’Farrell, sporting “Water not Coal” tshirts. Wonder if they kept the shirts?