Independents will squeeze next NSW govt on coal and gas
Whichever party forms government after the NSW election could face a fiery cross bench full of independents willing to go to the mattresses on coal and gas.
With a minority government a very real prospect following the March 25 election, eight independent MPs have outlined what it will take to win their support.
Immediate actions to restrict new coal and gas projects as the state transitions to renewable energy make up a list of five reforms they will push for in the next parliament.
Sparks flew when the group, hoping to represent some of Sydney's wealthiest suburbs, was pressed on the sense in calling for less fossil fuel power in the grid when many were struggling with energy and cost of living pressures.
Teal candidate for Vaucluse Karen Freyer said her aim was to represent her community, which was being ignored after 78 years as a safe Liberal seat.
"This is an example of our political parties taking us for granted and listening to ... fossil fuel companies and not listening to us, not listening to the voices of our children who are concerned about the planet that we're going to pass down," Ms Freyer said.
"We have an opportunity here for the first time, where politics is not dictated by the big companies. It's dictated by the community."
At the heart of the list of reforms from independents is halting the Santos Narrabri Gas Project, and changing planning laws to prevent gas pipelines and coal seam gas development on the Liverpool Plains.
Other reforms include expanded climate assessments for fossil fuel projects and providing communities with the right to test the merits of all new fossil fuel project approvals in the Land and Environment Court.
North Shore independent candidate Helen Conway said it was a "fairy tale" that Australia does not already have enough gas.
"That's because they're talking about all the gas going offshore. There is enough gas if it is reserved for domestic use," Ms Conway said.
"If this government in this state had a gas reservation policy, we wouldn't be in the position we're in."
Other teal candidates in the group are Joeline Hackman for Manly, Jacqui Scruby for Pittwater and Victoria Davidson for Lane Cove.
Elizabeth Farrelly, who is pushing for a seat in the upper house, as well as sitting MP Alex Greenwich and independent candidate for Wakehurst Michael Regan, are also part of the collective.
Mr Greenwich said regardless how many of the independents get elected or which major party wins the most seats, coal and gas reform will be central to the crossbench agenda.
"We will be pushing whoever forms the next government to embed a consideration of climate change into our planning," he said.
Premier Dominic Perrottet said the Narrabri Gas Project, backed by both major parties, is important for providing reliable and affordable energy into the future.
"Crossbench members have their views on issues. We don't always agree. That's fine," Mr Perrottet said.
Opposition Leader Chris Minns shot down the prospect of dealing with the crossbench in the event of a minority government, saying it was still too early to consider.
"We're not going to do any deals," Mr Minns told ABC Radio on Thursday.
He said Labor was heading to the election with the aim of winning majority government and would campaign on its own policy platform.
"I just say to everybody, no one's cast the vote yet - no one's been elected," Mr Minns said.
"We don't even know what the composition of the next parliament will be."