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CSG top priority for Macfarlane

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New federal industry minister Ian Macfarlane intends to convince New South Wales farmers to change their stance against coal seam gas.

He said growing Australia’s natural gas sector will be the main goal.

The ABC reported he has labelled protests against CSG as unscientific.

“I’m not interested in noisy protesters, minority groups, with no interest in the development of regional Australia and the economic progress of agriculture and mining together.

“They simply want to politicise this issue and tell lies.”

Macfarlane said he will tour through NSW, meet farmers and convince them coal mining, CSG and agriculture can coexist in the state, saying it already does so in Queensland.

He said 4,000 farmers have gained economically and socially by signing access deals with CSG and other mining companies in Queensland.

New Prime Minister Tony Abbott named his cabinet yesterday, with Groom MP Macfarlane appointed to a vast industry portfolio that includes resources, energy and manufacturing.

Macfarlane's top priority is to remove taxation changes made by the previous government.

“At the top of the list is to restore investor confidence in the resources sector, which for the past six years has been hit with poor policy and tax grabs from the Rudd/Gillard governments,” he said.

"As the minister for industry, I want to ensure that these sectors stay strong so Australians can continue to earn our fair share of revenue from our resources and to build a strong future for the many tens of thousands of jobs within these parts of our economy.”

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