The NSW government has fully implemented only two of 16 recommendations from an independent review into coal seam gas that was released five years ago, according to a parliamentary inquiry.
The upper house inquiry probed the implementation of 16 recommendations made by NSW’s then-chief scientist in 2014, with the state government saying all but two had been introduced.
The 16 recommendations included that the government ensure clear and open communication on CSG, a standing CSG expert advisory body and a “centralised risk management and prediction tool” for extractive industries.
An earlier upper house inquiry in 2015 recommended the chief scientist’s final report be fully implemented before any expansion of the state’s CSG industry.
However, the new inquiry on Thursday stated only two recommendations had been fully implemented with six partially implemented and eight not implemented at all.
Lock the Gate Alliance said regional communities like those near the proposed Santos Narrabri CSG project could not be expected to have confidence in the government or industry given the committee’s findings.
“The failure of the Berejiklian government to implement the chief scientist’s recommendations is deeply troubling at a time when Santos is seeking approval to drill 850 gas wells right through a recharge zone of the Great Artesian Basin,” spokeswoman Georgina Woods said.
“We’re calling for an immediate halt to any further assessment of the Narrabri CSG project in light of this scathing report.”
Independent MP Justin Field said he would bring forward debate on a coal seam gas moratorium bill following the report’s findings.
“The government has had five years to fix this and they’ve failed,” Mr Field said in a statement.
“It’s time for the parliament to act and I’ll be pushing for the Coal Seam Gas Moratorium Bill to be debated in the March sitting of parliament to press pause on this industry.”
Shooters, Fishers and Farmers MP Mark Banasiak, who chaired the inquiry, called on the government to implement to recommendations as a matter of priority.
“In the five years since the government released the NSW gas plan in response to the NSW chief scientist’s final report, the recommendations have not been implemented fully or, in some cases not at all”, Mr Banasiak said in a statement.