Accommodation providers left out of pocket by Bentley back-down should be compensated

North Coast accommodation providers should be compensated for the damage caused by the NSW Government’s plan to send hundreds of police to break up the peaceful protect at Bentley, says Jan Barham, Greens MP and spokesperson for Tourism and the North Coast.

“Until the Government’s last minute suspension of Metgasco’s drilling approval, accommodation providers all over the Northern Rivers region had been booked for up to 800 police who were being brought in to break up the Bentley blockade,” Ms Barham said.

“These businesses, and our local communities, have missed opportunities to host tourists who were unable to book accommodation due to the planned police operation. The least the Government can do is to compensate those operators who were directly affected by the reckless plan to use police force on a peaceful protest.”

Ms Barham noted that the planned police operation to allow gas drilling at Bentley lacked community support.

“It’s especially unfair that the communities who have expressed such strong opposition to unconventional gas might bear the economic impact from a mining operation that lacked a social licence.

“The communities of the Northern Rivers have wanted to remain gasfield-free, and our region’s wellbeing relies on industries such as tourism, not mining.

“I’m relieved that the police operation at Bentley did not proceed as planned following a large amount of community pressure. But the Government must shoulder responsibility for the financial impact on the North Coast accommodation industry caused by their last minute back-down,” Ms Barham concluded.

For Further Comment, please contact Jan Barham directly on 0447 853 891