Fed up farmers and other concerned community members will gather in Quirindi this Saturday to voice their opposition to the Queensland-Hunter gas pipeline.
The pipeline, which if approved could carry gas from Santos’ Narrabri gasfield to near Newcastle, would plough through valuable agricultural land, disrupting farming businesses and livelihoods.
Farmers are also concerned about the lack of information surrounding the project, with the apparent route of the proposed pipeline changing since it was first announced in 2008.
Mullaley farmer Margaret Fleck said, “At a time when many farmers in the north west are still battling unprecedented drought, the last thing we need is the threat of this pipeline and Santos’ destructive Narrabri gas project.
“This sorry saga has already been going on for so long, yet the State Government has not kept landholders in the loop.
“Land ownership has changed hands since the pipeline was first approved in February 2009. As there were no easement agreements established, title searches do not reveal farmers could be impacted by a high-pressure gas pipeline.
“Some landholders have unknowingly built houses in the path of the pipeline, and there are other landowners that would not have purchased if they knew the property they bought could have a high pressure pipeline running through it.”
The pipeline project was due to expire in February last year because no work had been conducted since it was first announced. However the NSW Government extended the approval for the pipeline for an additional five years.
“The extension of the pipeline deadline was a case of the government changing the rules to suit mining interests, when they won't lift a finger to protect people and the environment,” said Ms Fleck.
Breeza farmer Peter Wills, whose family property sits in the path of the proposed pipeline, said fear around the project being built had increased since the Prime Minister and NSW Premier announced a new energy deal which included the request that NSW find 70 petajoules of gas.
“This pipeline has been directly linked to the proposed Santos Narrabri CSG project that farmers in North West NSW have fought tooth and nail against for nine years,” Mr Wills said.
“Coal seam gas puts precious groundwater at risk and to see the NSW Government resuscitating this gas pipeline when farmers are at their wits end with the threat of CSG is very depressing."