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COMMUNITY CONSULTATION AND EASTERN STAR GAS

 

  Mr Peter Fox this is directed to you, as you made the admission on the ABC recently,and another made just before Easter. Tell me why did you only mention New South Wales 3 times in that interview and not once mention Narrabri?

  Tell you one thing though, you got the General Manager Narrabri Shire Council all excited, he was all agog that Eastern Star Gas was about to start the Community Consultation process, still that was in mid April and it is only mid May now. A friendly chat does help!   

  Here we are nearly half way through the year of 2011,almost thirteen (13) months since Council voted to request Eastern Star Gas start a Community Consultation Committee, almost six (6) months on from the date in December when the General Manager removed the Council Request from the Council Resolution Register, and almost two (2) months since the applications closed for those who want to sit on the Community Consultation Committee, and still no firm date as to when Eastern Star Gas will talk face to face in a public forum, with those who want to ask many questions.

 “sore’ has, over the years asked many questions of Eastern Star Gas, with less than 5, being answered by Eastern Star Gas over the course of the past 2 years.

Now here we are getting closer to the time that Eastern Star Gas in going to put in the Application to go into full production, and severely effect the Environment,that is the Pilliga East State Forest, Bibblewindi State Forest and impact on the State Conservation Area, all of which are East of the Newell Highway .

You can bet your boots that even if the Consultation process started next month( June) not all the questions would be answered by the time of the Final Application Submission.

 You can bet that the Local Press will, as they have in the past and continue to do, present only the glossy side of this process, the tough and awkward questions will not get a mention, or if they will be hidden in the bulk of the so called good points. There may be nothing wrong with that , but is it really fair and unbiased reporting? Still to give the local press it’s due, the volume of Eastern Star Gas “free” content has fallen off dramatically over the past 2 months. I wonder why? Could the local press have been given a message,or have they woken up, we will never know and they will not tell.

 I wonder if the Community Consultation will take the form of that proposed by Mr Sleeman in 2010, when he stated in the Council Chambers, that he would like to talk to only those directly effected by their operations, or will it be directed to the usual Eastern Star Gas line,”We are going to spend big in Narrabri, and how good Methane Gas (Coal Seam Gas) is”.

 Will the meetings be only small groups, or will they be in the form of  a large, open to all, Public meeting.

 Or, will these meetings be controlled by the Business people who only want to cash in on the whole Mining boom?

 Will, those who want answers regarding Environmental, Social, and Council Asset protection, be able to talk freely , or will they be intimidated by the ‘Heavies’ of the crowd?

 How long are you going to allow per person? Will the MC close the questions down if he feels that they are too long or tricky? Will the MC and Eastern Star Gas allow for a long Consultation given that this is the first since 2006? How many Community Consultations will be held, and over what time frame?What follow-up is going to take place?Will Eastern Star Gas give plenty of notice of the intended Community Consultation, remember there are those who need time the alter their schedules, and of-course the paper only comes out twice a week and then many people do not read it or if they do it could be up to 7 days for out-of-towners to get a copy and be made aware of the date, or is this what Eastern Star Gas wants?Not many people to attend that may ask the difficult questions? See Eastern Star Gas , I do not trust you to do the right thing and your past record sure does enforce that.

 Tell me this, “Did the shock that you must have felt after the Gunnedah meeting re the Mining Scoping Paper, spur you into action, or was full open and frank Community Consultation always on the cards, or am I too cynical?

The first part of this article was written on the 12-5-2011. and now it is 17-5-2011 and Eastern Star Gas has just announced how it will conduct the Public Consultation process.

 Eastern Star Gas have chosen to go for the small group surrounded by ESG heavies, “The old, how good are we approach”,to show you how good they are, . Lots of rhetoric, very little information, with very little time and attention to give to you , especially if a large number of people turn up at once. At least at a Public Meeting every one has a chance to ask his/her question or if they do not wish to ask questions then,for what ever reason at least there has been a chance to hear a cross section of other people’s concerns, see your reactions and form informed opinions based on their own judgement. Eastern Star gone are the days of forcing people into your mold, this is the days of instant, well almost, information, get with it.

 Eastern Star Gas will take your questions , but away to get the answers and maybe get back to you sometime. Mine are still unanswered from August of 2009.So what chance Mr and Mrs Citizen?

 Eastern Star Gas will not hold a proper Public Meeting because they are scared of the emotion that may come out. What do they expect , this company has upset so many people and continues to do so. Why even this attempt at controlled Public Consultation is an affront to many. Eastern Star Gas as I told you today (17-5-2011) face to face after the Council Meeting, you must take your lumps and start to become a Responsible Corporate Citizen , crikey , did you not see how four (4) Narrabri Councillors reacted to the standard Eastern Star Gas line, and then Eastern Star Gas tried to smooth things over by attempting  to say how many jobs will be created . Wake up and smell the roses, Narrabri Shire Mothers can only produce so many children and they have to go around.

 Eastern Star Gas, people West of the divide are not stupid, even the Politicians have woken-up to that, and that is why they are going back to the GOOD OLD OPEN PUBLIC MEETING and as such they are truly able to gauge public opinion, and give those interested a chance to judge them.

 There is more to a good deal than the deal itself.

Wake up , take your lumps, hold a lot of Open Public meetings all over the PEL 238, become a truly PUBLIC COMPANY, not a BULLY-BOY as some are calling you, and you will be suprised who is referring to you in that manner, and at what level .

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