NSW government to pay damages to Metgasco

Metgasco have announced they will seek damages from the NSW Government over the suspension of drilling approvals in May 2015.

The NSW Government had until May 22 2015 to lodge an appeal against the Supreme court decision of 24 April which overturned the suspension.

Metgasco managing director Peter Henderson said the Supreme Court decision had found strongly in favour of Metgasco with fault found on three major issues.

“We are pleased that the NSW Government appears to have recognised this and has avoided the damage it would have done to investor confidence in NSW and the waste of taxpayer funds had it appealed the decision,” he said.

Henderson announced this morning that Metgasco would like to meet with government to discuss the issue of damages caused to the company by the suspension.

“We would prefer to settle our claim for damages out of court,” he said.

Fairfax newspapers reported that $80 million may be the figure under consideration for compensation, after AFR said it received confirmation from senior government sources that the government had “resigned itself” to paying out compensation.

Henderson also said that he wished to confirm that NSW Government would “maintain law and order” when drilling commenced at their Rosella conventional gas exploration project.

The decision made by NSW Resources and Energy minister Anthony Roberts to suspend the Metgasco licence for a drilling program near Lismore was intended to address community concerns over the company’s efforts to conduct public consultation.

The NSW Supreme Court found the decision to suspend Metgasco’s licence was “invalid” as the government had not given due process to the gas company, and had based the decision to suspend in part on the end result of the consultation process, community protests in the form of the Bentley Blockade.

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