MPs feel heat on CSG bill

Coal seam gas activists have taken aim at the Illawarra’s two state Liberal members after the defeat of a bill in Parliament aimed at stopping drilling across the state.

On Thursday, an upper house motion aimed at securing a moratorium on coal seam gas (CSG) mining was knocked back when the Liberals, Nationals, Christian Democrats and the Shooters and Fishers Party teamed up to defeat the motion.

The defeat came on a day when Illawarra MPs in the Parliament’s lower house also debated the issue, following the receipt of a 10,000-signature petition prepared by activists Stop CSG Illawarra.

On the Government’s benches Heathcote MP Lee Evans and Kiama MP Gareth Ward expressed concern about the issue while defending the Government’s actions to limit further projects.

The Stop CSG movement criticised the two MPs, who they said publicly supported the Stop CSG cause while not taking any active steps to stop CSG mining.

Stop CSG spokeswoman Jess Moore said the MPs were ‘‘defending the ongoing development of an industry that is posing risks to the community’’.

“In both houses, Coalition members showed absolute contempt for the people of NSW,’’ she said.

She took aim at Mr Evans who signed the group’s petition despite later stating he did not agree with all the stated goals. ‘‘His rhetoric is for it and his actions are against it,’’ she said.

Mr Ward said the Government had a ‘‘functional moratorium’’ in place by not approving further licences. Existing licence holders, however, are still able to operate.

Mr Evans, who said he received 400 emails each day on the issue, said the Government had to balance the state’s future energy needs with protecting the environment.