NSW gov fails to give evidence

No evidence: NSW fails to put up

The New South Wales government has failed to provide any evidence in its court case in order to keep a drilling ban on Metgasco’s conventional drilling in the state.

The NSW government was required to provide evidence in the ongoing court battle regarding the planned Rosella-1 well by 8 August, but has reportedly failed to do so.

According to Metgasco, the government cited “unavailability of key personnel” as the reason for not lodging the evidence.

Then on Tuesday, the government announced it had decided not to present evidence.

Metgasco chief executive Peter Henderson said the company was surprised by the government’s decision.

“It is especially disappointing given the Government’s claim a few weeks ago that our request for it to produce documents was ‘premature’,” he said.

“The information we were seeking as part of our request to produce documents has not been provided, which is inconsistent with the Government’s ‘premature’ claim.

“As a result, Metgasco will explore a range of other options to have the documents produced.”

On 14 May, the office made a decision to suspend the drilling of the conventional well.

The office gave Metgasco written material on the decision to renew the suspension stating it had changed its interpretation of “effective consultation” with stakeholders.

Metgasco believes the new interpretation “does not accord with its own guidelines”.

The company believes the office has no justifiable basis for renewing the suspension, stating it believed it lived up to its community consultation obligations, according to Henderson.

The company is looking into potential for a claim for damages to compensate for losses resulting from the suspension.

Henderson said the government’s decision did significant damage to Metgasco and undermined its position in the NSW industry.

“The decision not to submit any witness statements justifying the suspension makes it impossible for the decision-makers to be cross-examined.

“It is important in these circumstances that the suspension decision be properly justified by government and scrutinised by the courts.”

The court hearing has been now pushed back from October to December because of availability of judges.

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