The NSW government has been accused of filibustering a bill to permanently ban coal seam gas extraction in the Sydney water catchment area.
The government instead discussed Shakespeare as the bill lapsed in Parliament on Thursday, enraging Labor MPs and anti-CSG activists.
The bill was first introduced on March 20, however was adjourned.
Stop CSG Illawarra spokeswoman Jess Moore said the government had drawn out the discussion, with little comment on CSG, causing the bill to lapse.
"Lady Macbeth was being discussed as the bill lapsed," Ms Moore said. "This was a lesson in how to do away with bill by stealth.
"The government breached public trust and put our future at risk."
Ms Moore accused the government of going back on an election promise to "ensure that mining cannot occur … in any water catchment area".
At the moment, a moratorium exists on CSG exploration in the water catchment area, pending an independent review of the industry by the government's chief scientist Mary O'Kane.
The independent CSG review is expected to run until late 2014.
Labor Member for Keira Ryan Park said the government's behaviour was disappointing.
"What we saw ... was the NSW Liberal government attempt to stop the bill being voted on by making it lapsed by talking about ... Macbeth," Mr Park said.
"That's extremely disappointing for everyone who's had an interest in this extremely important community issue.
"This is a bill that came as a result of thousands and thousands of people right across the Illawarra who had concerns."
However, Liberal Member for Kiama Gareth Ward said the government was content to wait until the findings made by Professor O'Kane were released.
"What the Labor Party was seeking to achieve has already been done by way of the moratorium that already exists," Mr Ward said.
"The bill was the arsonist running back into the fire - Labor issued every single exploration licence, now they're seeking redemption.
"The reason we have a moratorium is because I pushed for it within the party room, the reason we have the toughest controls on CSG of any state is because I fought for them within the government."