Following vocal coal seam gas protests, State Member for Blue Mountains Roza Sage has come out declaring she is opposed to exploration in the Mountains.
Mrs Sage joins a group of outspoken south western Sydney MPs who have declared their opposition to the CSG industry, following pressure from their electorates. Campbelltown MP Bryan Doyle, Wollondilly MP Jai Rowell and Camden MP Chris Patterson have all publicly announced they will oppose the expansion of the industry in their suburbs.
After being handed a petition last week of more than 3000 signatures from local residents opposed to CSG exploration and after a request for clarification of her position from the Blue Mountains Gazette, Mrs Sage said she would “never support any CSG exploration or extraction here in the Blue Mountains due to its unique status as a World Heritage National Park”.
She added: “I hold this view regardless of the company or organisation applying for the lease such as the two currently involved in the Blue Mountains, AGL and the NSW Aboriginal Land Council.”
Mrs Sage said she had “already stated my position to the minister’s office and I will be writing to the minister to put this position on the record.”
But according to the Stop Coal Seam Gas Blue Mountains group Mrs Sage hasn’t gone far enough and they remain unconvinced of her commitment.
Spokeswoman Jan O’Leary said “Mrs Sage was asked to respond to a request in the petition for her to do two things — publicly declare her opposition to Coal Seam Gas exploration and production in the Greater Blue Mountains area and advocate, both in NSW State Parliament and directly with AGL, for all lands within the Greater Blue Mountains area, including the Blue Mountains City Council area, to be immediately removed from AGL’s exploration licence”.
“A simple ‘yes’ or ‘no’ answer to both questions would have been quite clear, instead her response lacked any certainty,” she said.
Ms O’Leary has a problem with the “vague term ‘Blue Mountains’ to indicate the area in which she would not support CSG activities”.
“The term ‘Greater Blue Mountains’ was chosen specifically for use in the petition because it covers the World Heritage Area as well as local government area and other public lands. So, on this point Mrs Sage has made no specific commitment.”
She added that “nowhere in the response has (Mrs Sage) agreed to advocate in parliament or directly with AGL to have the Greater Blue Mountains area removed from AGL’s exploration licence. As was explained to her, this is the time, when AGL’s licence is in the process of renewal.”
Last month Blue Mountains City councillors agreed to “man the barricades” to prevent CSG activities in the Greater Blue Mountains. Ms O’Leary said she would like Mrs Sage to publicly commit to doing the same thing.
The Upper and Mid- Mountains are now under threat from coal seam gas exploration after the NSW Aboriginal Land Council has applied to explore for coal seam gas. It is part of an application to explore for coal seam gas under 40 per cent of the state.