Photography: Bianca de Marchi/AAP
Sydney ‘kingmaker’ MP Alex Greenwich and a coalition of independent political hopefuls will try to kill the controversial Pep-11 gas exploration license by banning development in the area through an amendment to New South Wales law.
The six independents, who could hold the balance of power in less than two months, will unveil a bill on Saturday that would amend the state’s planning law to ban certain types of land and sea development, reversing a possible future federal approval.
“It is remarkable that the Federal Labor government is seeking to overturn the only good environmental policy of the former coalition government,” Greenwich said.
“We will do everything we can in New South Wales to stop this.”
The decision will be revealed after the Federal Government and Asset Energy agreed to overturn former Prime Minister Scott Morrison’s decision to block further exploration of the gas field, which stretches from Manly to Newcastle, before ‘t happen in court.
Related: Federal court could overturn Scott Morrison’s controversial veto on gas project off NSW coast
On Friday night, state premier Dominic Perrottet said he told Anthony Albanese that his coalition government remained opposed to the plan.
The final decision on the project now rests with a joint federal and state authority.
If re-elected, Greenwich will co-sign the new bill with one of the five independent candidates who win their seats.
The bill would kill the offshore drilling plan, regardless of the wishes of the federal government.
Jacqui Scruby, the independent candidate from Pittwater, said her community was “outraged” by the scheme and would do anything they could to stop it.
“It will be a critical factor in my decision-making whether I am able to secure supply in a minority government,” she said.
Manly candidate Joeline Hackman, Vaucluse candidate Karen Freyer, North Shore candidate Helen Conway and Land Cove candidate Victoria Davidson will also support the bill as they prepare to wage an intensive climate campaign over the course of the next six weeks.
“The waters off the coast of NSW are no place for a gas deposit,” Freyer said.
“I support this bill because my community does not want oil and gas extracted off its coast. It’s that simple.”
Davidson said it was a “historic example of how our politicians are failing to represent their communities”, while Conway said people on the North Shore were telling him it was “time to take a stand and act now to act more quickly on the climate and the protection of our environment”.
Related: Scott Morrison accused of ‘bias’ by blocking Pep-11 gas permit using extraordinary ministerial powers
The Environmental Planning and Assessment Amendment (Developing Offshore Drilling Ban Bill) was developed with incumbent Independent MP Justin Field.
In 2021, Morrison announced that the federal government would reject a two-year extension of the exploratory drilling license before it was revealed that he had done so by swearing in as Minister of Resources to circumvent the Minister’s plan. of Resources at the time, Keith Pitt, to extend it.
Asset Energy then launched a challenge in Federal Court in light of the multiple portfolios scandal.
The Labor Party fiercely opposed the Pep-11 in the run-up to the federal election.
“We will prevent Pep-11 from moving forward, period. Exclamation point. No question. Not ambiguous. No ifs, no buts,” Albanese said before becoming prime minister.
State Greens environmental spokeswoman Sue Higginson called on the federal and state governments to rescind the exploration agreement.
“Matt Kean must contact the Federal Minister for Resources and demand that the decision to end this seismic testing be unequivocally redone so that NSW residents are freed from this cycle of intimidation by the gas companies,” he said. she stated.