The NSW High Court recently upheld the appeal of the oil and gas company Metgasco against the suspension of its mining licence at Bentley.
The judge’s decision was only a technical victory for the Metgasco and based on procedural difficulties with the suspension. Nevertheless the company is demanding that the state government use police to keep protesters away from its drilling sites. It is also seeking $15 million in compensation.
Gasfield Free spokesperson Dean Draper said: “It is important to realise that this is only a technical and procedural victory for Metgasco, it does not mean that the suspension was not warranted – just that it was not carried out properly.”
NSW Resources Minister Anthony Roberts has indicated that the government will comply, saying that “the NSW police will uphold the law”.
It is important that the community campaign against Coal Seam Gas (CSG) mining in Bentley continues. The continuation of direct action can keep pressure on the company and help force the government to extinguish the licence and prevent compensation claims.
Only sustained community action will stop CSG mining and only by the community building its own political party will we be able to put and end to big business profiteering at our expense.
By Gary Duffy