Friday, 20 September 2013

The Page Election Result and the Gas Mining Industry (including CSG, Tight Sands, Shale Gas etc).

The following letter to the editor was published in the Clarence Valley's The Daily Examiner, Lismore's The Northern Star and The Clarence Valley Review during the last week.

I find it very interesting that the media, Australian Petroleum Production and Exploration Association (APPEA) and certain members of the community are claiming ‘a mandate’ in support of the Gas Mining industry following the results of the recent Federal Election.

Firstly, ALL candidates for the seat of Page took a firm stance AGAINST the development of the Gas Mining industry in this electorate.

Secondly, the elected candidate – Mr Kevin Hogan has openly stated that he ‘will cross the floor’ in support of his stance AGAINST Gas Mining. I’m certain this would have ‘encouraged’ many members of the community (who are predominantly conservative anyway) to vote for him. I am sure that the electorate will keep him accountable to this statement. How is that a vote in support of the Gas Mining industry?

The community cannot compare political parties and results in this election, when the Nationals, Liberals and the newly formed Palmer United Party invest many hundreds of thousands and in some cases millions of dollars into advertising for the campaign. Smaller political parties do not have the advantage of such huge amounts of money being thrown at them to ‘win a seat’.

Mr Hogan’s party openly used advertising designed to deceive the community into voting for him. In particular his television advertisements blamed Ms Saffin for items (such as electricity price rises) which are legislated at state level. Unfortunately, not all members of the electorate are wise to which legislation is passed at what level of government.

It was very inappropriate for Mr Hogan to display signs at many polling booths stating ‘Vote Labor get CSG Mining’, again, information aimed to deceive the electorate and an out right lie! Gas Mining it is largely a state issue and legislated by the State Government, and which party currently holds power in the State? – you got it the National Liberal Coalition!

Petroleum Exploration and Production Licences may be revoked under certain circumstances by the State Government under the Petroleum Onshore Act 1994 without any encumbrance to the said Government. The National Liberal Coalition hold the reins with this issue!

Some action can be taken at Federal level, such as the recent introduction of the 'The Water Trigger’ under the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation (EPBC) Act which our previous member Janelle Saffin pushed very hard to have introduced.

So, for individuals, media or APPEA to say that the reduced numbers voting for The Greens and the Stop CSG Party proves that the electorate wants Gas mining is just plain ludicrous, and yet another attempt at typical Political Propaganda and Mining Company Spin.

There has never been Social Licence to turn the Northern Rivers into gasfields, and it’s not likely there ever will be.

Lynette Eggins