NOT HAPPY: Northern Rivers’ farmers paid a visit to Thomas George’s Lismore office in Carrington St with bags of cow manure to show what they think of the Coalition’s gas policies.
NOT HAPPY: Northern Rivers’ farmers paid a visit to Thomas George’s Lismore office in Carrington St with bags of cow manure to show what they think of the Coalition’s gas policies. Mireille Merlet-Shaw

Protesters: Nationals are “full of it” when it comes to CSG

COW poo has become the latest weapon in the war against CSG in an "earthy" protest by farmers and activists outside Lismore MP Thomas George's office yesterday.

Several bags of manure were delivered to the Carrington St office by a convoy of livestock trucks which rolled through en route to Ballina Nationals candidate Kris Beavis's office.

Emptying out one of the bags on to the pavement alongside several Nationals campaign fliers, Kyogle farmer Peter Stackhouse declared that the Coalition gas policies were "full of it".

Mr Stackhouse pointed to the Coalition's renewal of most gas licences on the North Coast and said their policy on prime agricultural land had "no rational approach".

"The simple thing is CSG can't be made safe," he said. "It's just not compatible with agricultural pursuits. It's industrialisation of farmland.

"Their end game is to have a gasfield here."

Cow manure dumped at Thomas George's office by protestors: Anti-CSG protestors drop cow manure outside Thomas George's office following the news of gas exploration licences for the Northern Rivers being sold.
Cow manure dumped at Thomas George's office by protestors: Anti-CSG protestors drop cow manure outside Thomas George's office following the news of gas exploration licences for the Northern Rivers being sold.

Asked who he would vote for, Mr Stackhouse said the Greens, adding that despite their recent anti-gas policies Labor had an unreliable history of granting gas licences at State and Federal levels.

Greenridge farmer George Wagener said he had made a stance against the industry because of Metgasco "misleading locals from the beginning" about the extent of their plans in the region and said he no longer supported the Nationals.

Bentley farmers Meg and Peter Nielsen said the sale of the massive PEL445 to drilling giant AJ Lucas was a sign the region remained a target of mining companies.

"A lot of the community seem to think the PELs have been cancelled," Mrs Nielsen said. "This is not so; the community is still in dire risk."

Mr Nielsen said farmers' issue with the NSW Gas Plan was the fundamental disconnect between it and the NSW Chief Scientist's report into the industry which the Coalition claims its plan is based on.

He said the report identified 42 risk factors for the industry - and that gas mining would affect water quality - which for him was "game over".

"She (chief scientist Mary O'Kane) said it wasn't a green light for the industry, even though Thomas George said it was," Mr Nielsen said.

Mr George did not return calls asking for his response to the claims.

Today's protest was yet another event in what has become a full-scale campaign against the Coalition on the CSG issue with all other Lismore candidates - except for Mr George, the incumbent - vowing to cancel any gas mining in the region if elected.

This includes Greens candidate Adam Guise and Labor candidate Isaac Smith, whose combined stance was joined recently by Christian Democrat candidate Gianpiero Battista.