NSW Treasurer Matt Kean has trashed his government’s vaunted climate credentials and enraged hundreds of farmers with the granting of an authority for Santos’ Hunter Gas Pipeline.
Mr Kean revealed on breakfast radio that he had granted an Authority to Survey for the gas pipeline which, if built, would carve through hundreds of kilometres of farmland between Narrabri and the coast.
The decision came weeks after farmers travelled to Sydney to stage a protest outside Mr Kean’s electoral office, and demanded he reject the ATS. They presented a petition opposing the pipeline signed by more than 200 landholders along the route.
“The damage this high pressure pipeline would do to some of NSW’s richest farming country is immense,” said Mullaley Gas and Pipeline Accord spokesperson and cattle farmer Margaret Fleck.
“Matt Kean’s support for Santos shows his disdain for the hundreds of farmers who are opposed to the project, and exposes his hypocrisy on climate concerns.
“Santos and the Perrottet Government will find that opposition to this pipeline in our region is not going away, and farmers will not back down.
“This gas pipeline threatens precious black soils on the Liverpool Plains as well as several of the most significant koala habitats in NSW.
“Governments should be cracking down on gas cartel operators like Santos and its corporate profiteering, not paving the way for them to do more damage.”
Mr Kean’s comments come days after Gomeroi Traditional Owners lodged a legal appeal against the Native Title Tribunal decision that favoured Santos late last year.
Studies have shown that in addition to destroying some of the best farmland in the state, the Hunter Gas Pipeline would also carve through important cultural heritage sites and critically important ecological areas, including koala habitat.
Lock the Gate Alliance national coordinator Carmel Flint said, “Matt Kean’s support of the Hunter Gas Pipeline and the Santos gasfield shows he can’t be trusted on climate.
“It also shows his utter lack of respect for Traditional Owners and farmers who are fighting tooth and nail to stop Santos’ dirty and polluting gas projects.
“This coal seam gas project will blow NSW’s greenhouse gas reduction targets and keep NSW at the whim of profiteering gas companies who have been fleecing Aussies with exorbitant prices.
“The NSW Government ought to side with the public. Instead, it has sided with a giant gas company that is only interested in keeping prices high so it can continue making obscene profits at the expense of NSW communities,” she said.