United Community Action to Protect the Pilliga from Gasfield Invasion

Published: November 06, 2013

The Lock the Gate Alliance has congratulated the people of north-west NSW who have launched a cultural heritage camp and workshop at Ten Mile Dam in the Pilliga Forest in response to the development of stage one of Santos’s Pilliga gasfield.

Last week, a peaceful picnic was held at the site of an area of forest being cleared to make way for new gas drilling, with picnickers stopping Santos’ exploration operations.

“The industrialisation of the Pilliga has begun, and so has the resistance” said Phil Laird National Co-ordinator for the Lock the Gate Alliance. 

“State and Federal Governments have given their approval to develop industrial gasfields in the Pilliga, but the local community has not. The Pilliga is an important forest for biodiversity, but it also hosts a recharge aquifer for the Great Artesian Basin, the lifeblood of rural NSW. A water resource that precious should not be put at risk of damage or contamination.”

Narrabri resident and Gomeroi woman Deborah Briggs is pleased to see Elders and Traditional Owners from across the region coming together in the Pilliga to stand up to the coal seam gas drilling.

“I've extended an invitation to community members to help celebrate Gomeroi culture and heritage by learning some of our Gomeroi Traditional customs in beautiful Pilliga State forest and to save the water systems from toxic poisoning.

“I'd like to extend an invitation to all members of the public interested in learning some of our Gomeroi customs to attend the workshops and in doing so you'll be assisting the guardians of country to continue practicing our traditional customs while saving Bilaga.”

Bundella Farmer, Megan Kuhn, participated in the picnic activity, “It is obviously critical that we need to respond to the invasion of our region now, as Santos has not been truthful about their long term plans for the North West.”  

“We need to look at the long term consequences of allowing this to proceed, and we don’t want the Pilliga bulldozed to make way for an invasive industrial gasfield, here and beyond.”

“This threat to the natural values of the Pilliga and the surrounding farmland and water resources have unified a broad coalition of people to protect the region. This is a Trojan horse for the invasion of gasfields in north-west NSW across the surrounding farmland and communities, and we won’t stand for it” she said.

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