In a timely reality check for the NSW Government, Lock the Gate Alliance has produced a scorecard measuring the Government’s actions against the NSW Chief Scientist’s recommendations.
Despite promising to implement all of the Chief Scientist’s recommendations on coal seam gas, the scorecard reveals major gaps remain. Some of the state’s best farmland and water resources are still very vulnerable to damage from the CSG industry.
Liverpool Plains farmer Margaret Fleck said, "We welcome the Premier and Deputy Premier's recent commitment to protect NSW farmland in the face of the Federal Government blaming farmers for the gas export problem.
"To back up that promise, we need to see action to implement the protections recommended by the Chief Scientist, before any decision is made about the Narrabri coal seam gas project.
"Coal seam gas projects must be assessed based on science, not based on politics.
“Three years on from the Chief Scientist’s final report, the farmland in our district and the aquifers we rely on for our livelihoods are still under an exploration licence for coal seam gas.
“We’d like the Premier to come up and see our part of the state. All of NSW’s remaining CSG licences are concentrated between the Liverpool Plains and the Queensland border, affecting cotton, cereal, beef and other farming enterprises,” she said.
Lock the Gate Alliance spokesperson Georgina Woods said, "Our scorecard shows that NSW’s CSG laws are only partly finished, and the state’s farmland is still vulnerable.
"While no-go areas for coal seam gas have been declared in city areas and the Hunter Valley, we need protection from coal seam gas in the rich farmlands and productive aquifers of North West NSW.
"We can protect NSW’s agricultural land while meeting Australia’s energy needs but we need the NSW Government to do more to meet the NSW Chief Scientist’s recommendations and we need the Federal Government to stop letting big gas companies export so much gas overseas.
The coal seam gas scorecard is available here (PDF)
A detailed review of the NSW Government's implementation of the Chief Scientist’s recommendation is available here.