At last some good news for the Central Coast on the environment. The threat of CSG drilling on Mangrove Mountain has been temporarily removed, as AGL announced it would sell back the PEL2 which covered the agricultural hinterland and drinking water catchment of the Central Coast. Gosford Council has announced a $1million fund, primarily from the Office of Environment and Heritage, to fund in perpetuity the conservation of biobanking sites in Rumbalara Reserve.
AGL has announced today on the ASX that is selling back most of its Petroleum Exploration Licenses under the state government buy-back scheme. This includes the enormous PEL2 which stretched from the Southern Highlands to the Central Coast.
“The threat of CSG has been reduced, but not removed, by concerted community pressure. The Central Coast Greens congratulate the Mountain Districts Association which ran a gas-field free survey of the Mountain districts last year in which 98.2% of the population said they wanted the Mountains to be CSG free.” Said Central Coast Greens spokesperson Kate da Costa.
“It is of course outrageous that an expired exploration licence is to be bought back by taxpayers funds – this is another example of the corporate welfare the fossil fuel industry enjoys in NSW – but at least the immediate threat of CSG drilling through our precious water aquifer has now receded” said Ms da Costa.
“The Central Coast Greens back Jeremy Buckingham’s bill to ban CSG across NSW, and welcome local Labor MPs support for a ban on the Central Coast – now is the time to push for that ban as the last active PEL has been removed” said Ms da Costa. “We also call for the Wallarah2 coal mine to be refused, and a review of sandstone quarries in the area – our aquifers and water catchments need to be protected in perpetuity from all extractive industries”.
“The Greens remain opposed to AGL’s Gloucester and Camden operations continuing, and any new CSG project in NSW or indeed Australia. We look forward to a zero-carbon energy grid in the near future, and the end of fossil fuel subsidies”.
In other good news, Gosford Council announced funding to maintain crucial biobanking areas within Rumbalara.
“We are delighted that the state government found funding for this purpose” said Ms da Costa.
“However, we do have some reservations – we do not wish to enable the flawed and corruptible biobanking offset provisions of current state planning arrangements, and hope that the biobanking areas in Rumbalara are not used to allow endangered ecological communities elsewhere on the Coast to be destroyed for short term profit.”
“We also call for the state government to match these funds with similar boosts to social justice funding particularly dealing with homelessness, housing affordability and youth unemployment in our region”.
Central Coast Greens
Kate Da Costa
Mob: 0419 481 328