CSG on the agenda in New England poll

The coal seam gas industry is a contentious issue in New England and Nationals Senator Barnaby Joyce says he does not intend to ban coal seam gas exploration.

He said he would be a voice to make sure that it was in the best interests of communities.

Joyce told ABC he has had a consistent stance on CSG for more than a year.

“In summary that is, ‘do not go into prime agricultural land, do not destroy aquifers, do not disturb the quiet enjoyment of houses, and make sure a fair return goes back to the landholder’”, he said.

“What my role is, is to get as close as possible to the mechanisms of power to make the decisions that bring that about. I’m not going to say here that I believe in banning coal seam gas, because that would be a lie, and I don’t.”

Joyce said he will run for the Federal lower house seat of New England against sitting independent Tony Windsor if the NSW Nationals decide to preselect him. This comes after the previous candidate Richard Torbay withdrew from the race and resigned from the party after being linked to the Eddie Obeid scandal.

But Windsor said Joyce has been missing from the public debate about CSG.

“This coal seam gas, coal mining issue that’s out there at the moment? Silent. Absolutely silent,” he said.

“Now Mr Joyce will probably become quite vocal on that and how he’s going to protect the New England.”

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