A PARLIAMENTARY inquiry in to the rules and regulations around coal seam gas had to be postponed when, in an unprecedented move, government departments refused to allow public servants to appear before the committee.
Spearheaded by independent politician Justin Field, the committee is investigating if the state government has implemented the recommendations made by NSW Chief Scientist five years ago, to ensure the CSG industry operates safely.
However, the committee found itself in uncharted waters, as witnesses from a government agency have never refused a request to appear before a parliamentary inquiry, and were forced to postpone it.
The witnesses, mostly from the various agencies under the NSW Department of Planning, Industry and Environment (DPIE), were re-invited and warned further powers such as summons could be used.
The Leader understands most have agreed to appear and the hearing has been rescheduled for December 3.
Mr Field said the government's written submission claimed it had responded to 14 out of 16 recommendations, however many other submissions suggested otherwise.
"It is essential that key officials front the inquiry so the committee can interrogate the government's claims on behalf of all those in the community who are concerned," Mr Field said.
Labor politician and committee member Adam Searle said it was vitally important the committee heard from "real life people in government".
"It is a really important issue, we need to get to the bottom of what the government isn't doing," Mr Searle said.
DPIE refused to answer if it had initially rebuffed the committee's request, however a spokesperson said the government agency supported the inquiry.
"Witnesses from the department will appear before the inquiry including senior staff from the department's Resources and Geoscience division," they said.
"The Chief Scientist's office sits within the department cluster and has provided a critical, scientific basis on which the safe operating of the industry is based."