A scene from the Glenugie anti-CSG protest early this year.
A scene from the Glenugie anti-CSG protest early this year. Adam Hourigan

MP looks into accusation of political motive to CSG arrests

GREENS MLC David Shoebridge has obtained documents showing Metgasco CEO Peter Henderson was writing to Police Minister Michael Gallacher and Attorney General Greg Smith about anti-CSG protests in Northern NSW earlier this year.

The documents came as a result of a GIPA (Government Information Public Access) request from Mr Shoebridge after magistrate David Heilpern questioned whether charges against two protesters were politically motivated.

Mr Heilpern said the case against Alan Roberts and Bradley Rankin was "an abuse of the processes of the court" and said the police resources spent on a minor traffic offence were over the top.

"It is in that context that the realistic suspicion of political interference arise," he said.

Mr Shoebridge said the documents, seen by The Northern Star, raise more questions than they answer.

"There clearly was significant pressure from Metgasco for police to prosecute protesters.

"The public has a right to know the full extent of the corporate pressure on police to prosecute the Glenugie protesters and my office is making further application to the police to be provided with all of the correspondence they had with Metgasco."

Metgasco CEO Peter Henderson confirmed he wrote to four NSW ministers, saying they had "a legitimate, government-approved right to explore" within their licence area.

"We explained the possibility that protests could disrupt our lawful operations and that the behaviour of some protesters was unacceptable, threatening the safety of landholders, our contractors and our employees.

"We requested the government's support through the enforcement of existing laws so that our approved operations could proceed safely."