Thursday March 15 2012 was a big day for the coal seam gas issue in our state parliament.
In the morning a motion was put to the NSW Upper House by Jeremy Buckingham of the Greens – to place a moratorium on all coal seam gas (CSG) projects in the state, other than the Camden production field. It was lost 16-19, with the Coalition, Shooters and Fishers and Christian Democrats against; and Labor and The Greens in favour.
In the afternoon it was the turn of our petition, YOUR petition, to be debated. Over 20,000 signed, calling on the Government to put in place an immediate moratorium on all CSG projects; a royal commission into the full impacts of CSG; and an immediate ban on fracking. Gareth Ward and Lee Evans spoke against, and Ryan Park and John Robertson spoke in favour. You can view the “debate” video (including its descent into chaos) in full online.
In both Houses Coalition members showed absolute contempt for the people of NSW. The Coalition called a moratorium irresponsible, saying that the Government must wait for more facts. But it is completely irresponsible to develop an industry before getting the facts.
Gareth Ward spoke against the petition – defending Coalition plans as adequate. Lee Evans spoke against the petition, then admitted to signing it. But he can’t have it both ways. He either stands with his community, and the 74% of people in NSW who support the call for a moratorium, or he tows the Coalition line and acts on behalf of the CSG industry. Yesterday, he chose the latter.
Actions speak louder than words. The Liberals opposed the petition. The Coalition voted down a moratorium. Barry O’Farrell did not even show up. CSG wells are being drilled in our drinking water catchment and the Government is not stopping it.
Yesterday, the vital role of community campaigns could not have been clearer. The Government is failing to act for the people of NSW; so we must. As the Coalition scrambles to defend the indefensible, we must launch a people’s moratorium and lock the industry out of our communities.
See you at the CSG Community Conference on Sunday March 25.