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NSW Government foolishly suggests fracking the Far West

Lock the Gate Alliance is alarmed the NSW Berejiklian Government is considering opening up large parts of the Far West of the state to fracking.

The Planning Department recently announced it was exploring whether to release three large sections of land between Hillston, Cobar, and Broken Hill to conventional and unconventional tight gas exploitation under direction from the government’s Advisory Body for Strategic Release.

The hard-to-access nature of tight gas means that in order to obtain it, gas companies would need to use hydraulic fracturing.

The advertisement comes as community anger continues to intensify over government inaction to extinguish legacy zombie petroleum licences in the north west of the state.

Lock the Gate Alliance NSW spokesperson Georgina Woods said the apparent plan by the government to release even more land to the unconventional gas industry was deeply concerning, particularly given the well-publicised ill health of the Darling-Baaka River and the threat fracking poses to precious water resources.

“The Berejiklian-Barilaro Government has failed to extinguish zombie petroleum licences in the state’s north west and is now gearing up to put the already-stressed Darling River system in the line of fracking fire,” she said.

“Exploitation for gas will industrialise the landscape and intensify water stress. The government should be extinguishing all zombie PELs in line with what its own National Party members voted for in 2019, not opening up entirely new tenements, and focusing on economic opportunities that don’t worsen water security fears.

“Fracking gasfields require millions of litres of water and produce millions of tonnes of waste. In Queensland, barely-regulated unconventional gasfield expansion has led to the Condamine River bubbling with methane and old coal exploration boreholes acting as conduits to bring gas and salty water to the surface. This industry would do horrendous damage to the already suffering Darling-Baaka River system.

“In the age of climate change, water is our most precious resource. Lock the Gate Alliance strongly condemns the decision by the Berejiklian-Barilaro Government to even consider opening up new parcels of land to the unconventional gas industry.”

The NSW Government is currently formulating its “strategic statement on gas.”


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