A CAMPAIGNER against coal seam gas in the Tweed has applauded the government's decision to review royalty arrangements with energy companies.
Under NSW Government legislation, coal seam gas companies had a five-year royalty-free period to help establish the industry in the state.
Northern Rivers coal seam gas campaigner and Lock the Gate Alliance committee member Michael McNamara said the group had always welcomed any steps taken in the right direction by government no matter how small.
"The royalty-free period has always been a problem and it is good that it is being reviewed," Mr McNamara said.
"This decision calls into question the entire process of granting exploration licences under the previous state government and it should all be reviewed"
"The 'desk audit' undertaken by the government soon after being elected falls a long way short of what is needed, especially as it was focused on ensuring that companies were undertaking the drilling and other activities to which they had committed when their licences were issued under the previous government"
Mr McNamara said reviewing royalties was a start but not enough is being done.
"This process should follow a full review by a body with the powers of a Royal Commission so that the new rules can be based on the best available science, which focuses on the Australian context, and wide consultation throughout the community," he said.
"The government's moratorium on fracking runs out in April but there seems to be no action by government to investigate or assess the impacts of this process before lifting the moratorium."
A spokesman for the Minister for Resources and Energy Chris Hartcher said royalty were often reviewed as part of the budget process.
"The NSW Government is currently reviewing the royalty holiday for coal seam gas developments," the spokesman said.
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