Farmers and koalas will suffer following the NSW Perrottet Government’s decision to grant oil and gas giant Santos approval to conduct seismic surveys on the Liverpool Plains.
The government granted the approval, which will allow Santos to search for coal seam gas using “thumper tractors” today (November 1) in an area covered by petroleum exploration licence 1, located south west of Gunnedah. The trucks move at a very slow pace of about one kilometre an hour so the seismic thumping will occur over about a month.
The area is home to a colony of koalas and University of Sydney scientists recently raised concerns that the vibrations caused during the exploration process could negatively impact research underway on the efficacy of vaccines used to treat chlamydia in the endangered animals.
Mullaley Gas and Pipeline Accord spokesperson Margaret Fleck said the government’s decision showed it was paving the way for Santos to drill across the world renowned foodbowl of the Liverpool Plains.
“Santos was never going to stop with 850 gaswells in the Pilliga - the very nature of the coal seam gas beast is that these companies need to drill thousands of wells in order to make a it worthwhile - just look at the pockmarked farmland of inland Queensland,” she said.
“Meanwhile, farms sink due to CSG induced subsidence, groundwater is drained and placed at risk of contamination, and both people and animals like the koala suffer due to the industry’s greed.
“We will face problems even at this early stage of exploration. Seismic testing is a disruptive process that involves ongoing vibration that will be felt in the homes of people who live along the route.
“This approval is of course disappointing, but the Perrottet Government has clearly underestimated farmers in this part of the world.
“We fought off Shenhua, we have fought off gas companies before, and we have no plans to roll over and let Santos trash the food and fibre powerhouse of the Liverpool Plains. We stopped Santos in their tracks just over a decade ago and we are determined to do it again.”