State Labor is set to introduce legislation banning all coal seam gas activities in Sydney's drinking water catchment.
Opposition Leader John Robertson will introduce a bill to NSW Parliament when it returns next month, calling for a cancellation of any exploration licences, leases and special prospecting authority relating to the catchment.
The legislation will also prevent any CSG leases being granted or renewed in the catchment area.
Keira MP Ryan Park, who has been vocal in his opposition to CSG exploration near the catchment, said he was delighted the bill would finally make its way onto the parliamentary floor.
"This has been a lot of hard work, but sometimes you get a little victory. We want to see legislation that cancels this sort of exploration ... and makes sure this area, where 60 per cent of the state's water comes from, is not under threat," he said.
Mr Park hoped NSW Premier Barry O'Farrell and his MPs would support the legislation, given their pre-election promise to ban mining in the catchment.
"Our local MPs have made comments indicating their support on this so I'm hoping they will work as hard as I have in their own party rooms to convince the Premier and the ministers that this is worth supporting," he said.
"I want to see it introduced as soon as possible, but it has to make it through the first hurdle in Parliament."
Mr Park conceded there may be some negativity from mining companies who had been granted leases in the "special areas", but said a common-sense approach needed to be followed.
"I'm sure some CSG proponents will not be happy, but the reality of the situation is that this should have been done some time ago," he said.
"These areas should have been automatically excluded; no-one is saying CSG doesn't have a future, but we need to do what is sensible."
Coalition tries to rev up CSG drilling
The federal government is intervening in NSW’s coal seam gas debate in an attempt to ramp up drilling across the state.
But critics say the government and industry have created a ‘‘phantom gas crisis’’ in the rush to export to Asia.
Federal Resources Minister Ian Macfarlane announced yesterday that he would form a committee of stakeholders, including farmers and gas producers, in a bid to solve ‘‘the NSW gas challenge’’.
‘‘We have got to get the drill rigs going where the farmers want them going...where the environment is safe, we have got to get them before Christmas if we can,’’ he said outside NSW’s Energy Security Summit.
Mr Macfarlane said the Coalition wanted to create a gas supply strategy for the east coast market to 2020.
‘‘Other states are benefiting from record levels of committed investment...our challenge now is to make sure the same opportunities are extended in NSW,’’ he said.
Unless the industry is kick-started, he warned thousands of jobs would be lost between Newcastle, Sydney and Wollongong.
But state Energy Minister Chris Hartcher denied NSW was suffering a gas shortage.
‘‘The issue is getting it out of the ground and making sure it is affordable,’’ he said outside the summit, adding that while he was keen to work with the federal government, the state’s regulatory framework wouldn’t change. AAP