Barwon a battleground

ALP backs Pilliga gas hostilities in bid for Barwon, Nats cry foul on moral high ground


The Barwon electorate is set for a long haul into next year's state election, and coal seam gas will set the agenda.

Deputy Premier and Nats NSW leader John Barilaro congratulates Andrew Schier on his preselection as candidate for the seat of Barwon.

Deputy Premier and Nats NSW leader John Barilaro congratulates Andrew Schier on his preselection as candidate for the seat of Barwon.

THE Barwon electorate is in for 11 months of rough and tumble politics with the ALP, Nationals and Shooters, Fishers and Farmers parties all having announced their candidates for next year’s state election.

A local indepedent Phillip Naden, Gilgandra, will also contest the seat.

Broken Hill’s Mayor Dariea Turley, a councillor there for more than 20 years, will contest the seat for the ALP.

Gilgandra Poultry owner Andrew Schier will contest the seat for the Nationals.

Mr Schier was born and raised in Gilgandra. He is vice president of the Gilgandra Bowling Club, and has been the president of the Gilgandra Jockey Club for the past 22 years.

He is also the chairman of the Western Racing Association.

Deputy Leader Niall Blair said Andrew’s pre-selection was the decision of grassroots party members who themselves live and work across the vast electorate of Barwon.

“The Nationals is the only party that truly understands the issues facing regional NSW,” he said.

The Nationals have hit back at the NSW Labor Party “purportedly standing up for regional communities on coal seam gas exploration”.

The Shooters Fishers and Farmers Party announced Roy Butler as its candidate for the seat.

“I’m campaigning to be the next Member for Barwon because the National Party has failed our electorate,” Mr Butler said.

The ALP revealing a high-profile candidate and laying down opposition to CSG as a major election platform around Coonamable and the Pilliga – where Santos and APA are developing gas mines and carriageways – was the first shot fired in what will be a long battle.

A spokesman for Deputy Premier John Barilaro said the ALP’s position on CSG was not only hypocritical but unbelievable.

“Under the NSW Labor government, 60 per cent of the state was covered in petroleum exploration licenses and license applications – that is 4.5 million hectares,” he said.

“The NSW Liberals and Nationals government introduced an exploration license buyback program in 2014 that reduced the percentage of land covered in PEL’s in NSW to less than 8 per cent,” the spokesman said.

“The NSW Liberals and Nationals government has created the NSW Gas Plan, which sets new minimum standards on gas exploration including new environmental standards, the protection of prime agricultural land and water resources, and designates the Environmental Protection Authority the lead regulator on gas exploration,” he said.

“Giving the NSW Labor party the authority to sign off on CSG licenses is an incredibly dangerous prospect for regional communities,” the spokesman said.


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