Greens by-election candidate for Newcastle Cr Michael Osborne has called on the Labor Party to explain why their new coal seam gas policy doesn’t protect the Hunter.
The call follows an announcement by Labor leader John Robertson that the ALP would ban unconventional gas from the Northern Rivers if they won the election next March.
Candidate for Newcastle Michael Osborne said, “The Hunter and Gloucester Valleys are the front line when it comes to the battle to protect land and water from the impacts of coal seam gas and it is disappointing Labor won’t stand up for our area. It was Labor that approved these licences in the first place. If they have come to recognise the risk it presents on the North Coast, why is it any different in the Hunter?” Cr Michael Osborne said.
“The Labor Party should also look at the impact gas exploration could have on local fishing grounds,” Cr Michael Osborne said.
“The Greens have a consistent policy when it comes to responsible mining. We want agricultural land, water supplies, urban areas and sensitive environments ruled out from coal and gas exploration and mining. This is a policy that extends across NSW, not just in cherry picked areas.
“The question from voters will no doubt be, can Labor be trusted not to reverse this ban once the election is over?
Greens NSW MP and spokesperson on mining Jeremy Buckingham said, “It’s unfortunate that several prominent for former Labor ministers have joined the gas industry. Former federal resources minister, Martin Ferguson is now chair of the Australian Petroleum Production and Exploration Association (APPEA), while former climate change minister Greg Combet and trade minister Craig Emerson, are now lobbying for AGL and Mr Combet recently described himself as “having always been fossil fuels man”.
“The message for the people of Newcastle and the wider Hunter is that the strongest voice against coal seam gas is a Greens one,” Michael Osborne said.
Media contact: Michael Osborne 0439 442 984