THE Narrabri Chamber of Commerce has labelled recent statements from anti-coal seam gas groups as “extremely broad and misleading”.
Chamber president Russell Stewart said, despite what some say, the “vast majority of the wider community of the Narrabri Shire” supports Santos’ Narrabri Gas Project.
“We believe it is somewhat mischievous and dangerous to make public and misleading statements,” Mr Stewart said.
“Santos Narrabri, and its staff, who mostly reside in the Narrabri shire, have established themselves as outstanding corporate citizens and very important members of the wider community of the Narrabri shire.”
Mr Stewart said the chamber was disappointed by such statements.
His comments come in response to Wee Waa farmer Sarah Ciesiolka, who said there were some in the North West community that wanted the NSW government to buy back Santos gas licences.
“The NSW government must now act in the long-term sustainable interests of North West NSW landholders and communities by buying back Santos’ CSG licences in our region,” Ms Ciesiolka said.
Mr Stewart said the chamber had done its research on CSG and believed the Narrabri Gas Project can co-exist with the region’s agricultural industry, while diversifying its economy.
“Diversity is the secret to our success,” Mr Stewart said.
“Not only do we have a world leading agricultural industry, which is, and always will be, our shires number one industry, we also have within our shire boundaries some outstanding world- class and world-significant research facilities and some of the best natural energy resources in Australia.
“They will underwrite an extremely bright future for our entire community and our cousins of the North West for years to come.
“We have taken the well-considered and credible report of the chief scientist, who assures all that the coal seam gas industry and the agricultural industry can coexist, as correct.”
Mr Russell said the chamber is approaching its future with Santos the same way it approaches all business and community decisions, “with facts and what is best for the entire community for the future”.
“We do not make statements based on emotion or hearsay (and) we are not into the space of trying to convert those among us who, for whatever the reason, do not want the resources industry in our region,” Mr Russell said.
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