CSG protesters target Barry O'Farrell's home turf

Stop CSG Illawarra has taken its fight to Barry O'Farrell's backyard, telling a meeting of residents in the Premier's North Shore electorate about the dangers of coal seam gas mining in Sydney's drinking water catchment.

Nearly 200 residents attended a public forum at St Ives Community Hall on Sunday where Stop CSG Illawarra spokeswoman Jess Moore recounted the Illawarra's history with CSG licences and the need for catchment drilling bans.

Ms Moore said the group, along with Stop CSG Sydney, had intentionally organised the meeting in Mr O'Farrell's electorate, in the hope of keeping the issue on the political agenda.

"I think CSG drilling has snuck through and the vast majority of people don't know what it is," she said.

"The government didn't tell them, the mining companies didn't tell them so it's been up to the community campaigners - we want this issue to be present for Sydney residents and for them to really get behind it."

Anti-CSG proponents invited Mr O'Farrell to attend Sunday's meeting but he did not respond.

Ms Moore said Stop CSG Illawarra would continue to put pressure on the state government to honour its pre-election commitment to ban CSG drilling in the catchment.

She hoped an upcoming parliamentary debate would trigger discussion about legislative change.

Meantime, Keira MP Ryan Park has accused the region's Liberal MPs of showing "complete arrogance" towards community concerns about CSG drilling.

Mr Park put forward a priority motion on CSG in Parliament last Tuesday but claimed it was quickly voted against by the region's Liberal MPs including Member for Kiama Gareth Ward.

State Labor announced a new policy last week, banning CSG activity within the Sydney drinking-water catchment.

Kiama MP Gareth Ward denied suggestions he did not want to debate the issue, noting he had made his opposition to CSG activity near the catchment clear.

"I have never shied away from any debate on this issue," he said.

"I tabled a 20,000-strong petition regarding CSG in State Parliament; I understand the community's concern with CSG drilling and believe they have a right to ask questions."

Mr Ward accused state Labor of suffering a case of "policy amnesia", claiming the opposition was madly scrambling to backtrack on its previous decisions about CSG.

"What I find arrogant is that they endorsed licences for CSG in the first place and now they're trying to change their position, it's hypocritical," he said.

He believes state Labor's decision to announce its policy last week was purely political.

"Labor is trying to rebuild its brand anyway it can after Eddie Obeid and Ian Macdonald.

"They are looking for salvation in every direction," he said.

Mr Park denied the announcement was politically motivated, stating it was merely time for a sensible policy approach.

Stop CSG Illawarra has taken its protest to NSW Premier Barry O'Farrell's North Shore electorate.

Stop CSG Illawarra has taken its protest to NSW Premier Barry O'Farrell's North Shore electorate.


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