The lost decade is over: Hartcher

NEW South Wales’ decade of lost opportunity is over and the state is now “well and truly open for business”, Minister for Resources and Energy Chris Hartcher told the APPEA coal seam gas conference in Brisbane yesterday morning.
The lost decade is over: Hartcher The lost decade is over: Hartcher The lost decade is over: Hartcher The lost decade is over: Hartcher The lost decade is over: Hartcher

NSW Resources and Energy Minister Chris Hartcher.

Andy Graham

Hartcher told the conference that the first decade of the twenty first century was marked by a failure to capitalise on resources opportunities, but the state was now entering the “decade of gas”

He said he was confident the state’s strategic regional land use policy, released last month, provided the necessary support for the development of a domestic gas industry.

Hartcher said energy security was an issue for NSW, which currently produced just 6% of its gas needs at AGL’s Camden operations.

“We have been advised that NSW is to face a gas supply issue from as early as 2014/15 as contracts begin to expire,” he said.

“And yet in NSW we have over 250 years of gas supply in known reserves – under the ground and yet to be accessed.”

Hartcher told the conference that while CSG was “a dirty term” for its opponents, they might be amazed to learn that 20% of the state’s gas was already from CSG.

He said Queensland, where CSG-to-LNG projects were creating thousands of jobs and breathing new life into rural and regional communities, demonstrated the potential benefits to NSW from a CSG industry.

“The reality is NSW needs the economic boost that only the resources sector can deliver,” he said.

“The ongoing multi-billion dollar investments being made by CSG companies is an economic opportunity with enormous benefits for NSW that can’t be overlooked.”

Hartcher highlighted Incitec Pivot’s decision to shelve a planned $600 million ammonium nitrate plant near Newcastle as one of the “often unthought-of consequences of delaying the development of local projects”

Hartcher targeted “green and red tape” as an obstacle to development and said the state government wanted to ensure that the federal government’s independent expert scientific committee wasn’t “just another layer of duplication”

“The concern is now with ensuring that the Federal layer doesn’t duplicate existing approvals projects and cause undue delays in environmental assessments,” he said.

“We are looking to not only remove federal-state regulatory duplication, but importantly now to streamline the assessment timelines.

“Industry is calling for certainty in process and in regulatory timeframes. We hear this message and have turned our focus to cutting both red and green tape.”

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

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