Metagasco Shareholders have just voted to accept the State Government’s $20 million buyback offer for three Northern Rivers exploration licences.

NSW Greens Member for Ballina Tamara Smith is thanking all who contributed to the campaign for a coal seam gas free Northern Rivers and has heralded today’s news as recognition of the region’s ‘people power’.

“The deal has been sealed and our community is finally being delivered the protection against invasive gas fields it has so loudly called for,” Ms Smith said.

“We saw unprecedented community opposition to the industrialisation of our region across all sectors of society- doctors, nurses, teachers, farmers and artists, all in unanimous refrain.”

A Nationals press release said Metgasco has made a common-sense and responsible decision at today’s annual general meeting to accept the Government’s offer to buy back the company’s three Northern Rivers Petroleum Exploration Licences (PELs) 16, 13, and 426. The licences cover a total of 457,284 hectares in areas west of Lismore, over Casino and covering Grafton and surrounds.

Parliamentary Secretary for the North Coast and Member for Clarence Chris Gulaptis said the NSW Government had driven this successful outcome which will deliver for the Northern Rivers community and remove the coal seam gas mess left by Labor.

“This is an historic day for the Northern Rivers and the NSW Nationals team is proud to achieve this great outcome for the Northern Rivers,” Mr Gulaptis said.

“This removes the last of the Northern Rivers’ petroleum exploration licences which is exactly what the community wanted.

“The Nationals and the NSW Government have listened to the people of the Northern Rivers and achieved a result that delivers for the people of the Northern Rivers.

Member for Lismore Thomas George said the news followed the NSW Government’s successful buyback of PEL 445 covering 565,693 hectares around Kyogle, Lismore, Nimbin and Evans Head, which delivered on a NSW Nationals pre-election commitment in March this year.

Since the election the NSW Government also achieved the buyback of PEL 457, covering 75,000 hectares west of Yamba.

“That’s the last five PELs successfully bought back since the March election this year, adding to our success of the previous buyback of two other PELS on the Northern Rivers,” Mr George said.

“There are no more PELs on the Northern Rivers. We’ve shown we’re committed to achieving the right results for the Northern Rivers through a legal and responsible buybacks process,” Mr George said.

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