Rumours fly on key NSW appointment

RUMOURS that former federal Nationals leader John Anderson is in the running for the newly created position of NSW lands and water commissioner are causing panic among environmental groups, who are concerned about his former role at Eastern Star Gas.
Rumours fly on key NSW appointment Rumours fly on key NSW appointment Rumours fly on key NSW appointment Rumours fly on key NSW appointment Rumours fly on key NSW appointment

CSG well

James McGrath

Late last month NSW Nationals leader Andrew Stoner announced the position among a raft of policy measures aimed at ensuring public confidence in the coal seam gas industry.

The commissioner would oversee the creation of landholder access agreements.

A closer look at landholder arrangements has been a priority for the NSW government and has been mirrored by the Queensland government, released a report calling for a review of standardised agreements last month.

As flagged in a May parliamentary review into CSG in the state, the NSW government will draw up a land access code CSG companies will have to abide by if they are to be granted access to the land.

The commissioner will oversee this process and rule on the application of the code.

"The commissioner will act as an advocate, and have in place a template agreement regarding access," Stoner told reporters in Bowral.

"Farmers and other landholders do need to be treated fairly and with respect.

"We'll be looking to lift the bar when it comes to the negotiations and also compensation."

A shortlist for possible candidates hasn’t been released but the Lock the Gate Alliance has become concerned that ex-ESG chairman John Anderson could be one of those shortlisted.

The Alliance is concerned given that its operations were found to be the cause of spills in the Pilliga forest.

A review undertaken by Santos after they took over ESG operations last year found a lackadaisical culture toward environmental responsibility through the company was to blame for the spills.

Santos found former ESG personnel were accepting of minor spills, lax in reporting and possibly cleared land without permission.

Lock the Gate president Drew Hutton told EnergyNewsPremium that the rumour of John Anderson’s possible appointment had been floating around the Liverpool Plains for just over a week, and to the best of his knowledge the rumour was started by the National Party in the area.

Enquiries to Andrew Stoner’s office drew a straight bat response, with a spokesperson telling ENP that they were at a loss about how the rumour started, calling rumour-mongering “premature”

“As discussed, the NSW Government is still considering the role and processes for the appointment of the inaugural land and water commissioner, with no decisions made at this time,” the spokesperson said in a statement.

“Any speculation on these matters is premature.”

This article first appeared in ILN's sister publication EnergyNewsBulletin.net.

topics

loader