Lock the Gate Alliance welcomes the decision at this week’s NSW Local Government Special Conference (decision 53) calling on the NSW Government to “urgently develop a gas decarbonisation roadmap”.
The decision was brought by Dubbo Regional Council and carried with additional motions from Lismore Regional Council including that Local Government NSW lobbies “the NSW Government (to) urgently develop a gas decarbonisation roadmap so NSW can be a leader by setting business, industry and households up to be resilient and sustainable in a decarbonising world, while safeguarding jobs in important manufacturing industries”.
The move comes a week after 25 NSW councils from the Southern Sydney Regional Organisation of Councils (SSROC) dropped fracking company Origin Energy as a power supplier and instead switched to a provider that prioritises renewable energy.
As well, last week Lane Cove Council voted to remove “gas from council buildings and replacing gas boilers which reach the end of their life, with heat pumps”. The council also resolved to focus “on smart development by liaising with Canterbury-Bankstown Council on their actions taken and passing a moratorium on gas connections in all new developments.”
Lock the Gate Alliance NSW spokesperson Nic Clyde said the decision meant the market for gas from Santos’ planned Narrabri gasfield was rapidly shrinking.
“Santos wants to deplete groundwater, and pockmark the irreplaceable Pilliga Forest with gas wells under the false premise that there is going to be demand for its polluting gas,” he said.
“This resolution shows the local market for fossil gas is shrinking and that momentum is building away from energy sources that fuel climate change. We no longer need to sacrifice our best farms and environmental jewels just so greedy gas companies can pillage and make a profit, further driving climate change and extreme weather.”
Mr Clyde said the resolution was particularly timely given the climate crisis was a likely factor in the devastating floods that had occurred along the east coast this week, and the recent release of the latest Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change report.
“We know that burning the fossil gas Santos wants to drill in the Pilliga is driving the climate crisis. Local communities like Lismore are reaping the devastation of climate change already so there is added urgency this week for serious action to decarbonise,” he said.
“We know that if we don’t take urgent action to reduce greenhouse emissions from every source many regional communities will become even more vulnerable to climate disasters and extreme weather events, and local governments around New South Wales will be at the front line of those events. It’s great to see regional councils leading this call for decarbonisation.
“This is why we so warmly welcome the decision by all NSW councils to take a stand and vote in favour of establishing gas decarbonisation roadmap - it’s one part of a much larger puzzle, but it’s the kind of action from governments that we so urgently need, and which has been so sorely lacking from the majority of our political representatives at a state and federal level.”