Peter Ellem
Peter Ellem

It must stop: Ellem

"YOU can't just go and rape the land without considering the consequences."

This is Country Labor candidate for the Clarence by-election Peter Ellem's stance on the topic that has many of his constituents hot under the collar, coal-seam gas mining.

Mr Ellem was joined yesterday by former Labor member for Clarence Harry Woods in a united call for the O'Farrell Government to immediately suspend all coal-seam gas (CSG) exploration and extraction licenses in NSW.

"The coal-seam gas industry has the potential to damage our local rivers, drinking water, prime agricultural land, fishing industry and tourism industry," Mr Ellem said.

"Until a regulatory framework is in place based on independent scientific research and conclusive evidence we should not be allowing coal-seam gas mining to proceed freely."

Both Mr Ellem and Mr Woods challenged Nationals candidate Chris Gulaptis to reveal his position on CSG mining to the electorate.

Mr Woods said Mr Gulaptis was a fly-in candidate who came back to the Clarence from Mackay where he talked about how he loved being "back in a community where mining was big".

Mr Woods said after leaving politics in 2003 he decided to support Mr Ellem.

"I think there are some very important issues and Peter Ellem is somebody you can trust to undertake those issues," he said.

"The most important, it's all over the State, it's all over Australia, is coal-seam gas mining."

Mr Ellem and NSW Labor's calls for a moratorium on GSG have garnered support from the NSW Greens and the NSW Farmers Association.

Meanwhile, resources minister Chris Hartcher has accused John Robertson of hypocrisy following comments he made on CSG exploration and production in NSW.

"Every licence that exists in NSW was granted by the Labor government of which John Robertson was a minister," Mr Hartcher said.

"These licences were granted without any controls for the protection of the environment, without any controls for groundwater and without any community consultation.

"We've done more in seven months to protect agricultural land than the former government did in 16 years."

Mr Hartcher said the O'Farrell Government had introduced measures including banning CSG evaporation ponds, BTEX chemicals used in fracking and extended the moratorium on fracking.

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