Federal Environment Minister Tony Burke
Federal Environment Minister Tony Burke

Burke warns that CSG research will miss out on funding

THE threat of losing millions in funding for critical scientific research on the impact of coal seam gas in NSW does not appear to have fazed the state's resources minister.

After being warned by Federal Environment Minister Tony Burke the State Government could miss out on more than $50 million if its CSG protocols were not immediately reviewed, Mr Hartcher would only say he wasn't interested in "playing politics".

He told reporters on Thursday that the Prime Minister and Mr Burke were made aware of the NSW Government's CSG policy in December and were only raising issues now because the Federal Election had just been announced.

He also accused Mr Burke of using the debate as an opportunity to broaden the Federal Government's power on environmental issues.

Mr Burke was adamant he spoke up because he "couldn't allow the issue to drift any longer".

In an interview with the ABC, he said NSW had "played this completely different to other states" and should not be allowed to move forward with the CSG industry until it had considered all the scientific information made available.

The Federal Government offered to fund independent studies on the impact of CSG after NSW plans revealed drilling would take place not only on precious farm land, but also in built up urban areas in Sydney's west.

Mr Burke said he had given Mr Hartcher seven days to respond before the Federal Government intervened.

Page MP Janelle Saffin told Federal Parliament on Wednesday night the North Coast community was not satisfied with the response to its concerns about CSG and called for the "full extent of pressure" to be placed on the State Government to agree to independent testing as a priority.

Richmond LAC duty officer, Inspector Nicole Bruce, confronts a protester yesterday at the Doubtful Creek CSG site near Kyogle in northern NSW. A massive police operation broke the 300-plus community blockade allowing CSG company, Metgasco, to get it drilling equipment on-site.
Richmond LAC duty officer, Inspector Nicole Bruce, confronts a protester yesterday at the Doubtful Creek CSG site near Kyogle in northern NSW. A massive police operation broke the 300-plus community blockade allowing CSG company, Metgasco, to get it drilling equipment on-site.

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