Greens want Coffs Coast added to CSG-free list

THE Greens have called on State Labor to move to extend a gas extraction ban in the Northern Rivers to other areas of the state, namely the Coffs Coast.  

The party's mining spokesman Jeremy Buckingham said the Opposition had to extend its unconventional gas ban in the Northern Rivers to the rest of New South Wales or risk looking like they are playing cynical electoral politics.

While there has been vocal opposition and landholder led protests against coal seam gas in the Clarence Valley other areas of the state such as the North-West has received financial benefit from the natural gas and coal seam gas industries for decades.

After anti-CSG protests and marches in the Northern Rivers and Clarence Valley, State Labor in July voted unanimously to support a gas ban in the state seats of Lismore, Ballina, Clarence and the Tweed at the party's state conference.

Former Federal Member for Page Janelle Saffin and federal Richmond MP Justine Elliott introduced the motion to the floor.

The declaration will now become formal Labor policy at the March 2015 election.  

But the Greens have called for a more far reaching commitment.  

"While the Greens welcome the Labor announcement banning unconventional gas in specific North Coast council areas, it is disappointing that Labor are making their coal seam gas policy based on cynical electoral politics rather than basic principles of protecting land, water and communities everywhere in New South Wales," Mr Buckingham said.    

"Labor were the party that unleashed coal seam gas across a third of New South Wales by issuing 39 exploration licences when they were last in office."

The calls come just days after the New South Wales Coalition Government extended its ban on new coal seam gas (CSG) exploration licence applications for another year.

In March, NSW Energy and Resources Minister Anthony Roberts announced a temporary freeze on new Petroleum Exploration Licence Applications, which was due to expire last week.  

The application fee was also increased from $1,000 to $50,0000.