Richmond MP Justine Elliot has cited widespread opposition to coal-seam gas (CSG) mining in her electorate as a reason for stepping down from her role as parliamentary secretary for trade.
Mrs Elliot said it was ‘time to draw a line in the sand’ over CSG mining and many of her constituents had lobbied her over the issue.
Prime Minister Julia Gillard, who reshuffled her Cabinet at the weekend following the resignation of two senior ministers, said Ms Elliot had requested the change because she ‘felt uncomfortable’ over her electorate’s campaign against CSG.
A supporter of Kevin Rudd’s ambitions for PM, Mrs Elliot said she ‘made this decision as I want to continue the fight to stop coal seam gas mining on the north coast’.
‘This campaign conflicted with my obligations within the trade sector. I’ll always stand up for locals on the issues that are important to us, like calling for a moratorium on coal seam gas mining in our region.
‘In contrast all the National Party MPs and candidates on the north coast support harmful CSG mining in our area.
‘As I’ve said previously, it’s time to draw a line in the sand on the important environmental issue of coal-seam gas mining.
‘We know the community’s view. It is clear. Our community does not want coal-seam gas mining.
‘I call on the National Party state MPs to tell the O’Farrell government that our community demands a moratorium on CSG.
‘The ball is totally in their court: the state government regulates and licenses coal-seam gas mining and they can stop it dead,’ Mrs Elliot said.