Macfarlane to create committee for NSW CSG exploration
THE Coalition Government will push for coal seam gas operations to open up across the nation, circumventing the national body created specifically for negotiating such national agreements.
Federal Industry Minister Ian Macfarlane said he would create a new committee to open up more CSG exploration in New South Wales, after a gas summit in Sydney on Thursday.
Mr Macfarlane said the committee would include gas producers, pipeline companies, farmers and other stakeholders in a bid to produce more gas in the state.
But he said it wasn't only NSW that needed more CSG, that all states needed to create similar regulations to govern the industry.
Mr Macfarlane said he wanted all states and territories to sit down and work on "harmonised" rules for the industry.
But he said the negotiations would not go to the Council of Australian Governments - the body set up by Labor to specifically negotiate such agreements.
He said COAG needed to be reformed, labelling the key national body "bogged down" and bureaucratic.
"This is too urgent to wait for COAG. It will feed through the COAG process. It will set some nice positive precedents, but this is too urgent," he said.
"We've got to sort this out quickly; we've got to get the drill rigs going where the farmers want them going, where the geology's safe, where the water's safe, where the environment's safe."
Mr Macfarlane said the issue was "the most urgent issue on my plate", saying he wanted to get more CSG drill rigs going "before Christmas if we can".