Gas investors unlikely to touch Lismore again says expert

A STRONG gas industry might one day develop in New South Wales, but one of Queensland's top gas experts reckons it will never come back to Casino.

When the full force of public opinion railed against Metgasco's plans for gas extraction near the northern NSW town, west of Lismore, the government responded with tough new legislation leading to the gas giant's retreat.

GasFields Commission Queensland chair John Cotter said any gas exploration or drilling in NSW would struggle because of the angst it created across the state.

The GasFields Commission - an independent group formed by the Queensland Government - acts as an intermediary between gas companies, Queensland farmers and governments to ensure all sides behave themselves.

Mr Cotter said unlike Queensland, the NSW government would not back the industry, which left it lacking support..

"I think the industry has to go back there and establish its credibility by carefully picking their projects," he said.

"I believe Santos are doing things in some more regional areas (in the Pilliga, west of Narrabri).

"They have got to start by getting a group on side to say, 'Hey the world hasn't ended'.

But for Casino and Lismore, there was no hope.

"Going back to Casino for instance? You're not going to get investors," he said.

"When you have some of the dollars needed to go into these industries, (investors) are not going down the road where there's a challenge to social licence."


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