Gas Drillers bring in the Heavy Hitters
Gas drillers have failed to win over the public but with help from big lobbyists with top-level Coalition connections, they’re putting pressure on the NSW government.
As public sentiment shifts against the sector, NSW’s biggest coal seam gas companies are busier than ever safeguarding their billion dollar babies with the help of high profile and well connected lobbyists.
Together the big CSG players — Metgasco, Santos and AGL — have seven separate lobby firms working for them, more than doubling their clout behind the scenes.
Until its takeover by Santos last year, Eastern Star Gas employed an additional two firms, with the ratio of lobbyists to energy companies peaking before the end of 2011 at more than 2:1. This comes despite Premier Barry O’Farrell’s declaration that those hiring lobbyists “are wasting their money”.
But the lobbyists aren’t out to convince the crowd, but to buy the ears of conservative politicians. Significant donations from lobbyists working on behalf of the industry are steadily landing in the coffers of the NSW Liberal and National Parties.