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Barnaby Joyce must address CSG risk in his own backyard

Lock the Gate Alliance has urged the NSW National Party to deliver on the rhetoric of their Federal leader, Agriculture Minister Barnaby Joyce, and make NSW’s best farmland and productive aquifers off-limits to coal seam gas mining.

Barnaby Joyce is quoted in the media today saying that the National Party will not allow coal seam gas mining on “prime farmland” and that the party will not allow the industry to “destroy aquifers.”

But these remarks are contradicted by the situation in Mr Joyce’s own electorate in New England, NSW, where Santos holds a licence to explore for coal seam gas on the Liverpool Plains. In the neighbouring electorate Santos are proposing an invasive CSG production field in Narrabri that will drill through a recharge aquifer for the Great Artesian Basin.

Lock the Gate Alliance NSW Coordinator Georgina Woods said, “The NSW Labor party has a policy promise to protect a crucial recharge aquifer from CSG, it would be great to see the NSW Nationals match this with a bipartisan commitment to protect farmland and aquifers from CSG.

“In NSW, the only areas where CSG is excluded are in parts of the Hunter Valley and urban areas. In New England the North West, there are more than ten exploration licences for CSG, over some of the best farmland in the state, over rural towns and over the aquifers that support agriculture.

“Despite Minister Joyce’s rhetoric, none of the prime farmland or productive aquifers in his electorate are protected from mining.

“Mr Joyce must work with his NSW colleagues to fix the major gaps in NSW law before this insidious industry takes hold and it is too late to wind back the clock,” Ms Woods said.

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