FEDERAL Independent Rob Oakeshott has put his weight behind a New South Wales shire council fighting a coal seam gas operation approved last week.
The Gloucester CSG operation was approved by Federal Environment Minister Tony Burke last week, and was pursuant to numerous environmental conditions.
But the Gloucester Shire Council has spoken out against the approval, writing an open letter to Minister Burke, saying the interests of the community were being completely disregarded in a party political spat.
The letter, signed by Mayor John Rosenbaum and five other local councillors, also said it appeared both the NSW Government and Commonwealth were more interested in facilitating mining projects, rather than protecting the health of communities.
"We cannot sit idle while remote and faceless people pull the levers of power, and politicians condemn us to a future of jeopardy," the letter reads.
Mr Oakeshott said he absolutely backed the local council in its fight and would not back away from the matter.
He said both he and fellow independent Tony Windsor were "deadly serious" about the impacts of CSG, and would pursue the government "until common sense prevailed".
"We now have a process in place that elevates science and research in the CSG debate, but at the very first hurdle - the bunfight over NSW protocols - the Commonwealth pre-empts the science and grants conditional approval," Mr Oakeshott said.
"So far, the community has endured a questionable approvals process, which started with the former state Labor government while it was in caretaker mode, and a raft of broken promises by the current state government.
"No wonder communities have lost faith in due process and are asking questions about vested interests pervading our democratic space."
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