Story by Will Glasgow appeared in the Australian Financial Review 31 May
The Baird government is under internal pressure to fix its approach to coal seam gas with a Liberal bankbencher warning the growing protest movement is preventing NSW from being seen as a more favourable mining investment destination than Tasmania.
And the businessman at the centre of the storm over the state's coal seam gas industry, Metgasco chief executive Peter Henderson, told The Australian Financial Review that the Baird government was in danger of making the situation worse.
"Here's the problem – if they continue with the policy of appeasement, they will lose. The other side will get stronger," Mr Henderson said.
Outspoken NSW Liberal Peter Phelps criticised the state's ongoing failure to catch up to Tasmania as a favoured mining investment destination, according to rankings by Canadian think tank the Fraser Institute.
"You've got a situation where it's more advantageous to invest in Tasmania or South Australia than NSW," Mr Phelps said.
"The [Baird] government has given up on rationality. It's very disappointing to me," he added.
NSW politics have been rocked over the past four years by a coalition of protesters that includes environmentalists, farmers, the Greens and influential radio broadcaster Alan Jones.
The state Labor party joined the fray in the lead up to March 28 election, as its leader Luke Foley campaigned on a promise of a permanent ban on the gas industry in the Northern Rivers region at the top of the state.
This political rhetoric has been embraced by many of the state's Nationals. Recently elected National Ben Franklin, who as state director ran the party's campaign at the election, said in his maiden speech that issues other than science were at the heart of the debate. More