Stoner refuses to rule out coal seam gas drilling on farming land - Labor establishes coal seam gas taskforce

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Deputy Premier Andrew Stoner has today refused to rule out allowing coal seam gas drilling and exploration on prime NSW farming land – as NSW Labor confirmed it has established a coal seam gas taskforce to address community concerns over the issue.

"Deputy Premier Andrew Stoner was today given the opportunity to rule out allowing coal seam gas mining and exploration on NSW farming land but chose not to take it," Shadow Minister for Resources, Steve Whan said.

"Instead of taking this opportunity to rule out subjecting farming land to coal seam gas drilling, Andrew Stoner has confirmed it is on the table.

"If the O'Farrell Government had no plans to allow coal seam gas mining on prime farming land, why didn’t the Deputy Premier just say so?

"Rural and regional communities have every right to be concerned about the Deputy Premier's comments today."

To address the Government's inaction on coal seam gas mining, the NSW Labor Opposition will establish a coal seam gas taskforce to consult with local communities concerned about the industry.

The taskforce will consist of five Members – Shadow Minister for Resources, Steve Whan, Shadow Minister for the Environment, Luke Foley, Member for Keira, Ryan Park, Member for Cessnock, Clayton Barr and Member for Shellharbour, Anna Watson.

"Local communities are worried about coal seam gas exploration and mining and feel that the O'Farrell Government is not listening to their concerns," Shadow Minister for the Environment, Luke Foley said.

"If the O'Farrell Government is not going to consult with local communities over coal seam gas exploration and mining, the NSW Opposition will do it for them.

"Labor's taskforce will bring the concerns of community members directly to the newly formed Upper House inquiry into coal seam gas in NSW."

The taskforce will first visit the Illawarra and the Hunter Valley.