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Abbott Government’s secret CSG taskforce won’t break NSW communities’ resolve

Media Release
Larissa Waters 4 Feb 2014

The Abbott Government's private taskforce to force coal seam gas onto NSW, reported on today, is the latest attack on the environment and communities under this secretive government, say the Australian Greens.

"The Abbott Government is reportedly trying to secretly override the wishes of NSW farming communities with a tax-payer funded spin team," Senator Larissa Waters, Australian Greens mining spokesperson, said.

"Revelations today that Minister Macfarlane's hand-picked taskforce has been working away for months without that being made public show a complete lack of transparency from the Abbott Government.

"In another sign of the Abbott Government's anti-science agenda, the taskforce has people who aren't scientists reviewing the scientific material.

"Minister Macfarlane, who has demanded that 'every molecule of gas that can come out of the ground does so', is being a mouthpiece for the big mining companies.

"The Greens welcome genuine community consultation but this taskforce appears to be an attempt to try and force CSG on NSW communities that simply don't want it.

"NSW communities have banded together to lock the gate to this dangerous industry, with many local shires declaring themselves CSG-free after surveying their residents, and they will not be deterred by Abbott's secret spin team.

"A Lock the Gate Alliance poll late last year showed that 84 per cent of respondents in NSW support a ban on coal and CSG mining on productive agricultural lands and 74 per cent support a ban on fracking.

"The NSW Government's CSG laws leave most farming areas unprotected from this risky industry, yet the big mining companies are complaining that these paltry laws should be weakened because they are stronger than those in developing countries like Kazakhstan and the war-torn South Sudan.

"With such weak state mining regulations across the country, we need stronger federal protections and the Greens have a bill in the federal Parliament to give landholders the right to say no to gas and coal mining on their land," Senator Waters said.

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