A SCATHING parliamentary report has revealed the NSW government failed to heed advice about regulating the coal seam gas industry, implementing just two of the 16 recommendations made to it five years ago.
The report was tabled by a parliamentary committee, who investigated if the government had listened to the NSW Chief Scientist's advice about how to safely manage the industry.
Independent MP and committee member Justin Field slammed the government's failure.
"The government unashamedly tried to mislead the committee and the public," Mr Field said.
"Under questioning, their assertions that recommendations had been implemented fell apart."
The only recommendations the government implemented were mandating CSG personnel have training and certification, and a plan to manage legacy matters, such as requiring old wells to be covered.
"The government has had 5 years to fix this and they've failed," Mr Field said.
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"Critical recommendations around assessing cumulative risks, ensuring landholders have access to appropriate insurance against long-term risks and establishing an expert standing advisory body have not been implemented at all," Mr Field said.
"Right now NSW taxpayers are paying $3.75 million a year to regulate the industry when the clear recommendation of the Chief Scientist was that this industry should pay the costs of its own regulation."
Lock the Gate Alliance spokesperson Georgina Woods said the report's findings were "deeply troubling", especially at a time when gas giant Santos was seeking approval for its 850-well development near Narrabri.
"We're calling for an immediate halt to any further assessment of the Narrabri CSG project in light of this scathing report, which found landholders are left to bear the risks of CSG because the industry is uninsurable," Ms Woods said.
"The NSW government must not approve the Narrabri project when we now know that the measures that the Chief Scientist said were needed to control CSG are not in place."
The report recommended the government immediately implement the remaining 14 guidelines in full.
Chief Scientist's 16 CSG recommendations
1. Establish a world-class regime for extraction of CSG. Part implemented
2. Ensure clear and open communication on CSG matters is maintained at all times. Part implemented
3. Investigate a range of practical measures to allow affected communities to have strengthened protections and benefits. Part implemented
4. full cost recovery from industry for regulation activities. Not implemented
5. Strategic Release Framework to designate no-go-zones. Not implemented
6. Create a single act for onshore mining and gas. Not implemented
7. Establish independent regulator for allocation of subsurface resources exploit rights. Part implemented
8. Move towards a target and outcome -focused regulatory system. Not implemented
9. Comprehensive insurance and environmental risk policy. Not implemented
10. Whole-of-Environment of data repository. Part implemented
11. Centralised risk management and prediction tool. Not implemented
12. Establish a Standing Expert Advisory Body on CSG. Not implemented
13.Governance and accountability of water data and water management - subsumed into other responses. Part implemented
14. Ensure all CSG industry personnel be subject to ongoing mandatory training and certification requirements. Implemented
15. Develop a plan to manage legacy matters associated with CSG. Implemented
16. Consider whether there needs to be alignment of legislation and regulation governing extraction of methane as part of coal mining and the application of buffer zones for gas production other than CSG. Not implemented