Farmers and environmentalists protesting Coal Seam Gas (CSG) drilling have been removed from a NSW government energy summit in Sydney.
The state is under pressure from the federal government to develop CSG mining, with Industry Minister Ian Macfarlane saying he wants to extract “every molecule” of gas.
Mr Macfarlane joined NSW Resources Minister Chris Hartcher, former federal resources minister Martin Ferguson and industry heavyweights at the Energy Security Summit on Thursday.
They say they are trying to find a solution to energy price spikes and a crisis in natural gas supply.
But groups opposed to CSG are angry they’ve been locked out of the talks.
A handful of protesters turned up at the summit but were kicked out of the foyer by security while speaking to the media.
New England farmer David Quince described CSG mining as “a melanoma”.
“It’s not about securing gas for Australia, it’s about shooting it offshore so a minority of people will make an extreme amount of money at the detriment of a lot of other people, especially farmers,” he told AAP.
Pepe Clarke, CEO of the Nature Conservation of NSW, said: “This is not about gas supply for NSW, this is about accelerating the development of an export industry.
The summit also comes with state opposition leader John Robertson proposing legislation banning all coal seam gas activity and operations in Sydney’s core water catchment areas.
The bill, to be introduced when parliament returns in October, would, if passed, cancel any CSG exploration licence, assessment lease or production lease in those areas.
It would also prevent the granting or renewal of any CSG licence or leases.
“It makes no sense that we ban people from walking through special areas in our water catchments because of the risks posed to water quality, but then allow coal seam gas activities in those same protected areas,” Mr Robertson said on Thursday.