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Coal seam gas moratorium bill put forward by NSW MLC Justin Field

Northern Daily Leader - Jamieson Murphy

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AN independent politician has put forward a bill to establish a moratorium on all coal seam gas projects in the state.

The private member's bill, introduced to the NSW upper house by MLC Justin Field, would put a halt to Santos' Narrabri Gas Project, establish no-go zones for CSG including agricultural land and introduce a public interest test for proposed developments.

Mr Field said the bill was modelled off a moratorium put forward by Labor in 2015, and was hopefully it would be widely supported.

"The Greens, Shooters, Fishers and Farmers, Animal Justice Party and Christian Democratic Party have all previously voted for, or supported, legislation or policies that endorse a moratorium on coal seam gas," Mr Field said.

"With those parties on board we can pass a coal seam gas moratorium bill through the NSW Legislative Council.

"The community have long opposed coal seam gas development in NSW and now it is time for the parliament to act."

Mr Field said the bill would renew the pressure on the government, and in particular the Nationals, who lost the seat of Barwon at the recent election to the Shooters, Fishers and Farmers, in part to CSG and water-related issues surrounding the Santos project.

"Santos have failed to address genuine concerns by the community and government agencies about their project and have breached the agreement they struck with the government in 2014," Mr Field said.

"There are significant water management and waste salt issues that have not been resolved from the company.

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Andrew McConville, CEO of gas industry body APPEA, said there was no reason NSW couldn't have a safe and sustainable CSG industry, like Queensland has had for more than 20 years.

"Repeated independent inquiries, including by NSW Chief Scientist, have found there are no risks associated with onshore gas development that can't be managed, mitigated or eliminated by an appropriate regulatory framework - which NSW has in place," he said.

"The answer to addressing NSW's gas needs is developing new supply - not further regulation or imposing bans on onshore gas development."

GOVERNMENT VOTES AGAINST PROVIDING REAL DROUGHT SUPPORT

Press Release - Roy Butler

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The Shooters Fishers and Farmers Party put on the table in Parliament a drought package that would provide real support to farmers and farming communities, disappointingly the Government voted against supporting them.

The SFF drought package includes immediate cash grants, to allow creditors to be paid, cash rebates for local government rates, transitioning legacy loans to zero or low interest loans, the establishment of a re-sowing and re-stocking grant and providing financial support for employers to retain employees on farm and in local businesses.

Hear Them Raw: Walgett's Jill Roughley, 79, runs her property on her own with guts and determination

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The smell of a piping hot lasagne slips through the cracks of the oven in Jill Roughley's Walgett home. 

Like most rural women, a home cooked meal isn't out of the realm for this Country Women's Association stalwart, but neither are a lot of things. 

We haven't got a lot of time. That afternoon Jill will board her Kermit green truck loaded with fodder and travel around just under 20,000 acres to feed the drabs of stock that are holding on through the drought. 

 

Cafe provides vital buzz to drought-impacted Walgett locals and visitors

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Katie Murray can not quite believe that her little business is bucking the trend of economic downturn due to drought, but she says the figures and the numbers speak for themselves.

Her cafe in the north-west New South Wales town of Walgett is going gangbusters despite the ongoing dry weather.

She is so busy she has expanded the business to include fresh food and is increasing the table space available.

"We have quadrupled in size and we are really busy," she said.

"We had to make room for more giftware, but the main impetus for the expansion was the food — for casual lunchtime takeaway foods like sandwiches and wraps.

"Walgett was crying out for that food."

 

The Boat from Wee Waa - Commercial fisherman Ross Miller, 90, still building prawn trawlers, despite concerns about industry's future

ABC News

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The trawler started its life well away from the waters of the Pacific.

When Mr Miller first learnt about the boat, it was virtually a skeleton under construction in the cotton fields of Wee Waa in western NSW, where water is better known for irrigating cotton fields.

"I brought it in from Wee Waa and have been working on it ever since for the past 14 months. Nothing has been really changed in specifications," he said.

With the commercial fisher no longer on the tools, getting hold of others to carry out the physical side of the work does present problems.

"It is very, very hard indeed. There are a few people around [but] despite [their] experience with larger ships, they have not had the experience of working on a smaller vessel like this," Mr Miller said.

That experience, or lack of, has him working with 75-year-old John Wait, who has been a commercial fisher and these days also helps train potential fishers on behalf of the NSW Fishing Industry Training Council.

"I told Ross that he was crazy to do this. And I was silly enough to be with him and help him," Mr Wait said.

"I love building boats. It is one of those things that gets into your blood and you can't get rid of it. As Toad from Wind in the Willows said, there is nothing like mucking around with boats."

It is not surprising from Mr Wait's view that a person his age is providing the labour.

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