THE NATIONALS have vowed to buyback the massive PEL445 gas exploration license, preventing its sale to Australian drilling giant AJ Lucas.

Lismore MP Thomas George was joined by deputy Premier and Nationals leader Troy Grant and Minister for the North Coast Duncan Gay in Lismore today to announce the move.

Coming just eight days before polling day, the announcement follows repeated attacks on the government for renewing four licenses across the Northern Rivers during their term, including the huge horseshoe shaped PEL445 which covers 70% of the Lismore electorate.

But in a dramatic shift in sentiment, the Nationals have used the potential sale of the license to seek a buyback.  

"The PEL445 exploration licence covers the majority of the Lismore electorate and the community wants it gone for good," Mr George said.

Member for Lismore Thomas George, Minister for North Coast Duncan Gay and Nationals leader Troy Grant announce their intention to buy back licence 445. Photo Marc Stapelberg / The Northern Star
Member for Lismore Thomas George, Minister for North Coast Duncan Gay and Nationals leader Troy Grant announce their intention to buy back licence 445. Photo Marc Stapelberg / The Northern Star Marc Stapelberg

He said he was "shocked and disappointed" when he heard about the transfer of the license and the government would refuse the application, which hadn't been received yet.

Mr Grant and his two colleagues again attacked Labor for distributing the licenses during their term, and argued they were fixing Labor's mistakes at taxpayer cost.

"Our buyback scheme is working, we are fixing Labor's mess," Mr Grant said.

"The owners of PEL445 now need to come to the table and give us the opportunity to buy it back."

 

Nationals answer questions about PEL445: Lismore MP Thomas George, Deputy Premier and Nationals leader Troy Grant and Minister for the North Coast Duncan Gay, answer questions about the Nationals vow to buyback the massive PEL445 gas exploration license.
Nationals answer questions about PEL445: Lismore MP Thomas George, Deputy Premier and Nationals leader Troy Grant and Minister for the North Coast Duncan Gay, answer questions about the Nationals vow to buyback the massive PEL445 gas exploration license.