MEDIA reports suggesting the chief of Australia's Climate Commission, Tim Flannery, is a "backer" of the coal seam gas industry have been denied.
Yesterday The Australian reported that Mr Flannery, speaking at the NSW Minerals Council's conference in Wollongong, had supported the coal-seam gas industry.
But the high-profile environmentalist, who was one of the key players in the creation of the Federal Government's carbon price policy, has slammed the report as "wrong".
"The Australian (25 October) portrayed me as a 'backer' of the coal seam gas industry," he said in a statement.
"This is not only wrong, but a serious misrepresentation of my speech to the NSW Minerals Council from which the headline was drawn.
"What I in fact said at the the meeting of environmental workers in the minerals industry is that serious conflicts exist between the coal seam gas industry and landowners, and that the industry faces enormous challenges as a result."
Mr Flannery told the conference he had seen the passion of landholders against the coal seam gas industry on a recent trip through the eastern States.
"I went around talking to farmers who told me tales of woe about coal-seam methane companies whose representatives were leaving gates open on their properties, leaving trenches open, knocking down fences and basically making it impossible for them to run their businesses," he said.
"They saw the whole industry tarred, and I think that is a dangerous and damaging thing."
Earlier in the conference, NSW Minerals Council chief executive, Nikki Williams, said the mining sector was unfairly treated by the mainstream media.
"We're the darlings of the business pages, yet we're painted as demons in the early general news.
"We help Treasurers keep budgets healthy and give Australia the strength to stave off the threat of recession, yet our industry is a lightning rod for the most adversarial of political debates.
"We're in the midst of one of the longest and strongest mining booms in our nation's history.
"Yet we face multiple policy, regulatory and legislative challenges that might collectively render our sector a less attractive destination for international investment than countries such as Indonesia, Colombia or even Mongolia."