AS HER first act of the new parliament, the new Greens MP for Ballina, Tamara Smith, will co-sponsor a Bill that could force Metgasco to pack up shop in the Northern Rivers.
Today at the Bentley blockade site, she will launch the Petroleum (Onshore) Amendment (Prohibit Coal Seam Gas) Bill 2015, which would ban the production of coal seam and other unconventional gas in NSW and reintroduce the public interest as grounds to cancel existing petroleum licences.
She will co-sponsor the Bill with the Greens' Mining spokesperson, Jeremy Buckingham, and the Greens will introduce it to the NSW Upper House on May 5 as their first act in the new parliament.
The Bill amends the Petroleum (Onshore) Act 2008 by making it an offence to prospect for, or mine, coal seam gas and other unconventional gas in NSW.
In terms of the North Coast, the Bill would prevent Metgasco from drilling at Bentley, as this would count as prospecting for coal seam gas. It would also allow the minister to then cancel all the licences across the region without any compensation being payable.
The Bill does not directly cancel existing petroleum licenses, but it does give the minister the ability to cancel licences without compensation where it is in the public interest to do so.
This is done by reinstating the public interest test, which was introduced in 2013 but repealed in 2014.
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