NEWS THAT MATTERS

NSW to legislate ban on offshore gas

The NSW Liberal and Nationals Government will legislate its existing policy to prevent offshore coal, gas, mineral and petroleum mining and exploration in NSW waters and ramp up its calls for the Albanese Government to prevent offshore mining in neighbouring Commonwealth waters.

17 February 2023

ALAN HAYES

 

TREASURER and Minister for Energy Matt Kean said a re-elected NSW Liberal and Nationals Government will introduce a bill to legislate the existing Offshore Exploration and Mining Policy in NSW waters in the next session of Parliament.

 

“The NSW Liberal and Nationals Government has been consistently opposed to offshore mining due to the grave concerns we hold about the possible impact on the environment. That is why we are legislating our long-held policy on offshore gas mining in NSW waters,” Mr Kean said.

 

“The NSW Liberal and Nationals will always stand up for the environment and our communities that care deeply about our pristine coastline, and the federal Labor Government must give the community certainty in their waters, as we will do in ours.”

 

Mr Kean said the NSW Government’s existing Offshore Exploration and Mining Policy sets out a responsible and balanced approach to the development of the State’s geological resources.

 

“Today’s announcement cements our opposition to offshore gas exploration and mining, and these new laws will make it crystal clear to anyone looking to drill for gas in NSW waters that they need not apply,” Mr Kean said.

 

To help tackle beach erosion, the NSW Government will still consider offshore mineral exploration or mining in NSW waters for beach nourishment where a clear public benefit can be demonstrated.

 

But where does this really leave the PEP-11 question?

 

NSW Labor has reiterated their long standing opposition to the PEP-11 project. "NSW Labor stands with our Federal Labor colleagues in this opposition, as we have for over a decade," David Harris, Shadow Minister for the Central Coast, said.

 

"We stand with our community to oppose PEP-11 - plain and simple.

 

“Our community has been loud and clear about this; we don’t want gas exploration off our coastline.”

 

Former Prime Minister Scott Morrison and former Member for Gosford Lucy Wicks jumped all over PEP-11 and politicized it in an attempt to win the seat of Gosford and other NSW coastal seats but didn't enshrine the refusal in legislation. So what happened? The mining company marched off to court, with its highly paid legal team, and challenged the Liberal Government's decision in the Federal Court.

 

So, the Central Coast is now left with the ghosts of Scott Morrison and Lucy Wicks hanging over their heads.

 

Scott Morrison did not respect proper processes, and his incompetence, and disregard for due process, has denied the Central Coast, the certainty they deserve.

 

Had the former Morrison Government been 'fair dinkum' about PEP-11 and legislated the offshore mining would not be a spectre hanging over our beautiful coastline.

 

The mining company’s appeal was based on Scott Morrison’s decision to secretly swear himself in as a Minister.

 

This has created more uncertainty for the local communities on the Central Coast, Newcastle and Northern Beaches.

 

Liesl Tesch, Member for Gosford, said “The company seeking to greenlight PEP-11 used Scott Morrison's own disastrous decision to appoint himself Minister for Resources as the basis of their appeal.

 

“This has occurred because Scott Morrison and the Liberals do not follow proper processes.”

 

The question now is, will the Albanese Government follow through with pre election commitment to stop PEP-11 once and for all?

 

Independent Member for Warringah Zali Steggall is asking that question: "Will the Albanese Government support her Private Members Bill that will stop PEP-11 and give back certainty to the Central Coast and the other affected coastal communities from Newcastle to Manly?"

 

Stegall said, "when the Bill was first introduced in November 2021, Prime Minister Albanese, then in opposition, stated: We stood at Terrigal and made it very clear that we were opposed to PEP-111... this is a bad proposal."

 

Without legislation, even if a permit renewal for Advent Energy is refused, it does not rule out further applications being lodged.

 

The Central Coast has already experienced this type of scenario with the Wallarah 2 coal project that was proposed to be built beneath the Central Coast's water catchment district. The community had to fight the miners for a second time before they went away.

 

So, what can you do? Write to the Member for Dobell Emma McBride and the Member for Robertson Dr Gordon Reid and tell them that you want them to make the communities opposition to offshore mining protected by legislation.

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