Minister bemoans CSG debate
NEW South Wales Resources Minister Chris Hartcher has used a speech in Brisbane to accuse green groups of creating an irresponsible debate about coal seam gas, particularly in the areas of Lismore, Casino and Gunnedah.
Mr Hartcher said NSW needed to follow the lead of Queensland, where the CSG industry was beginning to mature to ensure gas supply and to ease rising power prices.
It was a growing industry that could transform parts of regional NSW into economic hubs, much like the resources industry had done for pockets of Queensland, he said.
But he said while discussion and debate was important, it had to be responsible and based on facts.
"(The debate) has been marked by the green movement that has distorted figures and simply uses the Gaslands movie from the United States which of course does not relate to operations here," Mr Hartcher told the Australian Petroleum Production and Exploration Association CSG conference on Tuesday.
The film illustrates how gas mining has delivered environmental and health problems in parts of the US.
Mr Hartcher was later quizzed by a gas company staffer who asked how the government and industry could put the true science above the noise of a concerted social media campaign.
The minister said "truth was the only salvation".
"It is a distortion of facts they have engaged in, and engaged in quite massively when they know them to be untrue," he said.
"The government tries to set the record straight and it has set up the policy framework.
"But industry needs to get out there and sell the message.
"One of the biggest problems, to be brutally honest, is that industry hasn't sold the message. That has created a vacuum where the green movement has moved in.
"Unless (CSG mining) is properly presented, there will be irrational and uninformed debate."