Taxpayers should not fund bail-out bill for small coal seam gas companies

The Greens NSW mining and coal seam gas spokesperson Jeremy Buckingham today said that with public opinion set against coal seam gas and the oil price in the doldrums, the Baird Government should not be using taxpayers money to bail-out small coal gas companies whose existing licenses are essentially worthless.

“There is a conga line of small players cashing out of the coal seam gas game.  It’s clear the industry has no future in NSW, so they are taking handfuls of taxpayers’ money on the way out the door,” Greens MP Jeremy Buckingham said.

On the Central Coast, the buy-back of PEL 5 from The Entrance to Dora Creek was announced today, following on from the buy-back of PEL 463 which covered Gosford City and Terrigal, in addition to metropolitan Sydney. Regarding PEL 5, under the Liberal’s NSW Gas Plan, AGL has sold back a licence which it considers to be not commercially viable (“AGL made the decision to sell PEL5 back  to the NSW Government  after it was deemed not  to be commercially viable.” AGL Media and ASX statement: http://www.asx.com.au/asxpdf/20150309/pdf/42x4md5qqtx1g4.pdf),

“which means taxpayers have paid for something which cannot be used” said Greens Gosford candidate Kate da Costa. “PEL 2, which covers much of our drinking water catchment and valuable farmland, remains active, and under renewal. The Liberals have left the Coast under the threat of CSG production. Labor’s moratorium is not good enough – it leaves landowners and the general community in limbo. The Coast has spoken. We do not want CSG here and only a ban will give us the security of knowing our water supply is protected”

Greens spokesman Jeremy Buckingham said “With public opinion set against coal seam gas and the oil price in the doldrums the licenses being cancelled by the government are essentially worthless.

“The areas being cancelled are also where CSG is least advanced and least likely to be developed. This is a pre-election taxpayer funded bailout of small gas companies, while the government paves the way for Santos and AGL to develop their toxic gas fields.

“If the government supported legislation introduced by the Greens to allow licenses to be cancelled without compensation in the public interest then taxpayers would not be bailing these companies out.

“If Luke Foley is genuinely sorry about Labor’s record in granting all these gas exploration licences, he should get out the NSW Labor cheque book out and pay the compensation directly, rather than letting taxpayers foot the bill.

“The Greens want a complete and permanent ban on coal seam gas and do not believe compensation should be paid to the gas companies who knew the risks.”

Contact: Jack Gough (for Jeremy Buckingham) – 9230 2202  or 0427 713 101

Kate da Costa, Central Coast Greens 0419 481328

 

Kate da Costa

GREENS CANDIDATE FOR GOSFORD 2015

MOB  0419 481328   |

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