IT’S ALL ABOUT WESTERN SYDNEY
19 February 2013 - INDEPENDENT Lyne MP Rob Oakeshott says the NSW Government
appears to have come into line with Queensland in banning CSG activity near
residential areas, but it’s too little too late for Gloucester.
“The Premier could have and should have moved months ago, when the
Commonwealth asked NSW to develop meaningful protocols on CSG regulation,”
Mr Oakeshott said.
“Last night’s decision looks to be about western Sydney, and not about
science, water or a better planning system. If anything, it confirms
planning is not about objective processes, but subjective politics.
“If NSW is serious about recognising the impacts of CSG activity on
communities within a 2km boundary, then they are acknowledging there are
issues that affect people. So why do people in regional communities, such as
Gloucester and Taree, not matter to the NSW Government?
“As a senior Cabinet Minister and the state MP for Gloucester, Mr Souris in
particular has an opportunity to explain the details of the latest changes
and whether Gloucester is in or out.
“If Gloucester is out, then he needs to explain why.
“The bottom line is that water, which is key to this issue, doesn’t
recognise 2km exclusion zones, nor does groundwater follow lines on maps.
“If we’re serious about protecting our waterways and aquifers, we’ll do the
research before we drill to find out exactly what the risks are,” Mr
“And that applies in locations with one person or 100,000 people.”
NSW GOVERNMENT CAN STILL HELP
February 2013 - THE NSW Government has the power to stop the Rocky Hill coal
mine today, says Independent Lyne MP Rob Oakeshott.
“Earlier this week, the NSW Government announced CSG activities would be
off-limits within two kilometres of suburbia,” Mr Oakeshott said.
“If the NSW Government is serious about limiting the impact of mining
activities on communities, it simply has to apply its new policy position to
“The state government has not yet approved the Rocky Hill open-cut coal
mine, so it has exactly the same status as the AGL project in western Sydney
that prompted the government to act this week.
“If it’s good enough for the NSW Government to move to protect western
Sydney, it’s good enough for them to protect Gloucester.
“Gloucester Resources Limited’s (GRL) Rocky Hill coal mine will be less than
a kilometre from homes, is overwhelmingly opposed by the Gloucester
community and unanimously opposed by Gloucester councillors. And, clearly,
the site is not compatible with the local council’s zoning, E3 Scenic
Mr Oakeshott said the NSW Government and National Party Minister George
Souris had an opportunity to do for Gloucester what the former state Labor
government failed to do – put community and farming interests ahead of
The Independent MP has written to the NSW Premier, Barry O’Farrell, seeking
an exclusion ban on open-cut coal mines and on CSG projects already approved
in the Gloucester basin.
CSG APPROVAL WILL DEVASTATE GLOUCESTER AND MANNING
11 February 2013 - INDEPENDENT Lyne MP Rob Oakeshott says community concern
over coal-seam gas developments has taken a back seat to political stunts by
the federal and NSW governments.
The federal Environment Minister, Tony
Burke, today granted conditional approval for the Gloucester CSG-methane
project; a decision Mr Oakeshott said would resonate for all the wrong
reasons in his community.
“If the science was in, if we knew for certain CSG
drilling represented no threat to our drinking water or to the environment,
then so be it. But the research hasn’t been done; our bioregional study has
not been done and the jury is most definitely out on what the potential
impacts of CSG extraction could be,” Mr Oakeshott said.
was about leaked letters between the federal and state Ministers; not about
what is best for Gloucester and the Manning Valley.
“I’m gutted by the
decision, and I know many good people in community-based groups who have
worked with me on this issue for more than two years will also be gutted.”
Mr Oakeshott said jurisdiction was clearly an impediment to enhancing the
Commonwealth’s powers in planning matters regulated by the states, including
the approvals process for CSG and coal-mining projects.
He added, however,
the fight was far from over and that he would keep looking for a legal
solution that could not be challenged by the states.
“If we can’t resolve
this through legislation, I fear what could happen on the ground in
communities such as Gloucester when drilling rigs roll out across the
landscape,” Mr Oakeshott said.
“This is a community that has a very
strong connection to the Gloucester landscape. It also relies on clean soil
to export quality food and relies on clean water to drink.
“These are fundamental issues to any
rural community and worth defending.”
OAKESHOTT BACKS GLOUCESTER ON ITS PUBLIC STAND AGAINST CSG
15 February 2013 - INDEPENDENT Lyne MP Rob Oakeshott is backing Gloucester
Shire councillors and their criticism of an approvals process that gave
AGL’s coal-seam gas development the green light last week.
“I absolutely back the six councillors who signed an open letter questioning
the process,” Mr Oakeshott said today.
The open letter is highly critical of the “party political spat” occurring
between the federal and state governments over NSW’s draft protocols, which
the Commonwealth has deemed inadequate.
The protocols are a requirement of the National Partnership Agreement on CSG
and coal mining, negotiated by Mr Oakeshott and fellow Independent Tony
Windsor in late 2011.
“We now have a process in place that elevates science and research in the
CSG debate, but at the very first hurdle - the bunfight over NSW protocols -
the Commonwealth pre-empts the science and grants conditional approval,” Mr
“So far, the community has endured a questionable approvals process, which
started with the former state Labor government while it was in caretaker
mode, and a raft of broken promises by the current state government.
“In opposition, Coalition MPs promised to protect the land and water from
CSG and coal developments. They even wore the T-shirts to prove it. But last
year, in government, these same MPs lifted a state-wide ban on fracking and
the granting of exploration licences.
“The Premier of NSW Barry O’Farrell said as opposition leader ‘no ifs, no
buts, a guarantee’ to ban mining in any water catchment area, and we all
know how that’s panned out.
“No wonder communities have lost faith in due process and are asking
questions about vested interests pervading our democratic space.”
Mr Oakeshott, who last week expressed his anger over the Gloucester approval
to the Prime Minister and Environment Minister, said he would not back away
from the matter.
He said he and fellow MP Tony Windsor were “deadly serious” about CSG
impacts on food production, water quality and public health and would pursue
the government over the matter until common sense prevailed.
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