No compensation due
Premier O'Farrell has said "I wish that I could unpick" coal seam gas exploration licences granted under the former Labor government, but that doing so could open the state up to compensation liabilities.
Well there is good news for the Premier and ministers Hazard and Hartcher and some local council candidates who fear paying compensation.
The Petroleum (Onshore) Act 1991 - Section 22 (5) states; No compensation is payable by the Crown for or in respect of the cancellation of, or a suspension of operations under a petroleum licence
Further, Section 22 (1) A states, "A petroleum title may be cancelled by the minister if its holder, at any time during the term of the title (a) fails to fulfil or contravenes any of the conditions of the title, or (d) contravenes a provision of this Act or the regulations (whether or not the holder is prosecuted or convicted of an offence arising from the contravention).
Metgasco's illegal dumping of contaminated water into the Richmond Valley Council sewage treatment works for which it was fined $5,000 is a case in point.
On behalf of the community of the Northern Rivers I call on the Premier and ministers Hazard and Hartcher to exercise the state's right to cancel all exploration licences held by Metgasco and not issue production licences to any coal seam gas companies in the Northern Rivers of NSW.
The community has certainly not issued the CSG industry a social licence to operate here.