April 24, 2015
APPEA welcomes today’s decision by the NSW Supreme Court to declare invalid last year’s suspension of Metgasco Ltd’s operations at Bentley.
Industry maintains that protest action should not be considered by government and regulators as an indicator of “ineffective” consultation and therefore grounds for suspension of previously approved operations.
Companies with required approvals in place should be allowed to get on with the job of safely producing gas for NSW households and businesses.
Industry has always recognised there are people with genuine concerns regarding resource development who are open to consultation, science-based evidence, and reasonable negotiation; and that there are others who are not.
Last year’s suspension decision only served to encourage the actions of protesters intent on stopping natural gas production.
It had also raised serious concerns for any resource project in NSW and undermined certainty for shareholders and employees.
The Metgasco work program was approved by relevant regulatory bodies, including:
- the NSW Department of Resources and Energy
- the NSW Office of Coal Seam Gas, in consultation with the NSW Office of Water
- the NSW Department of Primary Industries
- the Environment Protection Authority
- the NSW Office of Environment and Heritage.
The project was also supported by the Bentley farmer who owned the property where the work program was due to take place and who was subjected to abuse, personal threats and vandalism.
The industry now looks forward to working with government to make the NSW Gas Plan a reality, to secure supply and put downward pressure on rising energy bills.