Sunday, 14 June 2015


The Grafton Nannas have been lobbying their local member  about their concerns about CSG and unconventional gas-mining since the time of the Glenugie campaign  around the end of 2012.

Many members of our community want a gasfield free northern rivers because they believe this industry threatens the local natural environment, productive agricultural land and the health of the community.

It has been difficult to convince local Members of Parliament about the validity of our concerns but, following the March State Election where sitting members lost votes, it seems that the penny has finally dropped. 

The Knitting Nannas Against Gas who are members of the Grafton Loop are very pleased that their local State Member of Parliament, Chris Gulaptis,  is now reflecting the views of a majority of his constituents in the Clarence Electorate. He conveys this clearly in a recent speech in the NSW Legislative Assembly.

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Transcript from Hansard of the speech made by Chris Gulaptis MP, Member for Clarence, to the NSW Parliament on 7th May, 2015.

Mr CHRISTOPHER GULAPTIS (Clarence—Parliamentary Secretary) [1.21 p.m.]: I speak for the first time in this the Fifty-sixth Parliament of New South Wales with the honour and privilege to serve as the member for Clarence. I thank the voters in the electorate of Clarence for this privilege. It is also a great privilege to serve this Parliament as Parliamentary Secretary for the North Coast, and I take on this role with great humility and with all due responsibility.

During the election campaign and, in fact, over the past four years, one issue has been at the forefront of community concern across the North Coast, and that issue is coal seam gas [CSG]. Since coming to government in 2011, the Liberal and Nationals Government has taken every measure to regulate the coal seam gas industry and to provide protections for our water and our environment. We have taken a very measured approach to the development of a CSG industry in New South Wales when compared with the approach of the previous Labor Government and we have taken a much more precautionary approach to that taken by the Queensland Government.

The NSW Gas Plan developed by the Liberal and Nationals Government is based on science. It has been very successful in reducing the CSG footprint across New South Wales from about 48 per cent to 11 per cent through its buyback program as well as through the cancellation of licences, where appropriate. But still community opposition to CSG grows. I live in this community and I hear what a wide cross section of people say.

These are people from all walks of life, like the Knitting Nannas who sit outside my office every Tuesday afternoon, the famers who rely on the clean, green reputation we have in the Northern Rivers to market their produce, and just ordinary townsfolk who are concerned about the future for their grandkids. These are not extremists, just everyday people from my electorate. They are very fearful of the potential for long-term impacts on our water, our land, our livelihood, our health and our lifestyle that the CSG industry may have in my electorate of Clarence and in our beautiful Northern Rivers. We live in a lifestyle region and we must protect the very essence that makes it such a wonderful place to live.

I applauded the action taken by the Liberal and Nationals Government to suspend Metgasco's drilling program at Bentley last year, and so did the people of the Northern Rivers. There is something very fundamentally wrong when 6,000 or 7,000 people are prepared to confront 1,000 police because they feel so concerned about the impacts of the CSG industry, that it is an industry which is incompatible with our traditional agricultural industries, that it is wrong for the Northern Rivers and that it is dangerous to our environment. Confrontation of this magnitude is not the way we conduct business in any jurisdiction in Australia, nor is it acceptable or appropriate to conduct business like this in the electorate of Clarence.

I was extremely disappointed by the decision of the Supreme Court of New South Wales to quash the suspension of the drilling program issued to Metgasco by the New South Wales Government. I was disappointed because I believe the decision is wrong and it flies in the face of community sentiment. The community wants a gas field-free Northern Rivers. I support my community and I support this proposition.

I have urged the Government to explore every opportunity to appeal the decision of the Supreme Court. Should this not be an option, then I firmly believe that the Government has the capacity to deliver a gas field-free Northern Rivers through the NSW Gas Plan. I urge the Government to investigate, as a matter of urgency, every option available to do so, starting with the Metgasco licence. I believe there is an opportunity whereby a compromise position can be reached which satisfies Metgasco, the New South Wales Government, the taxpayers of New South Wales and the community of the Northern Rivers. They want a gas field-free Northern Rivers. That is what I want, I know that is what my colleagues on the North Coast want and that is the goal we should be aiming for as a government.