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Government votes against better protection for vital groundwater

4 June, 2020
Government votes against better protection for vital groundwater  Image

The Member for Barwon, Roy Butler today carried the historic Coal Seam Gas Moratorium Bill in the NSW Parliament’s Legislative Assembly.

“Much will be made of me carrying the CSG Moratorium Bill, but it should not surprise to people that I have followed through on my commitment to not support any extractive industry that puts water, our most precious resource at risk,” said Mr Butler.

“I committed to do it through the campaign, and I kept my word.

“The attacks on my stance on CSG have been a feature of my time in NSW Parliament, the comments that I am anti-jobs, and anti-manufacturing, and that I want families to have high energy bills are nonsense. In almost every session of Parliament I have talked about the need for regional economic stimulus due to drought.

“I am pro-jobs and pro-manufacturing, but if we fail to adequately protect our groundwater, and the communities and industries that rely on it. All the jobs in the world won’t matter.

“NSW needs only look to interstate examples to see how badly things can go, once vibrant farming communities have been stripped bare by the Coal Seam Gas industry – I don’t want that for Narrabri, I don’t want that for any community in this State.

“All we have is a promise of a few hundred jobs, but nobody can put a hard number on the amount. The gas industry is highly mechanised, and evidence from other states shows us that gas fields affects jobs in other industries like agriculture.

“I won’t be lectured by a Government that has systemically stripped jobs out of regional NSW, and is looking to support a project to save face.

“Gambling with water should not be considered when it is central to everything we do. There are alternate sources of energy – including better policy – but no alternatives for water.”

Government raced this Bill through in a very unusual way, just 10 hours after it was passed in the Legislative Council, it was being debated in the Legislative Assembly (LA). I don't think they wanted to give their own constituents a chance to voice their opinion. It was defeated in the LA - Ayes 36, Noes 38. If just two Government members crossed the floor, we would have stronger protection for groundwater.

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