Resources Minister Keith Pitt says he will not rush a decision on a controversial proposal to explore for gas off the coast between Sydney and Newcastle.
Two months ago, following the expiration of Petroleum Exploration Permit 11 (PEP 11), the minister said he "would prefer the decision was made soon" on an application by Advent Energy to extend the permit for two years.
Regardless, the project, which Advent argues represents a "potential solution to substantial gas shortage issues" still needs to formally assessed.
Shortland MP Pat Conroy, one of the seven MPs between Port Stephens and Sydney who have publicly denounced the project, has urged the federal government to make a formal decision on the project.
"The current licence was due to expire on 12 February. At that time, the federal Minister for Resources Keith Pitt - who has the final say on whether the permit will be extended - said that he'd "prefer the decision was made soon. Well how soon is "soon"," Mr Conroy said.
In response Mr Pitt said on Monday that he would not be rushed.
"I have always said I will give this decision the careful and detailed consideration it deserves. I won't rush that process to suit Mr Conroy's political games," he said.
The licence is currently in a rollover period meaning exploration can continue while the minister makes his decision.
"It feels like every man and their dog has said no to the extension of PEP 11," Mr Conroy said.
"Labor is against it. The community is against it. The NSW Government is against it. Several federal Liberal MPs are against it. Even the Prime Minister confirmed he is against it during a recent visit to the Hunter region."
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