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NW Farmers call on councils to join zombie PELs fight

Farmers from across north west NSW will call on Liverpool Plains Shire and Gunnedah Shire councillors to put pressure on the NSW Government to slay zombie petroleum licences that cover 56,000 square kilometres.

The call comes after two companies that possess zombie PELs as joint ventures with Santos - Comet Ridge and Carbon Minerals Ltd - made statements this year to the ASX expressing their intention to reactivate the licences and begin exploring for gas.

It also comes after Moree Plains Shire councillors and Dubbo Regional councillors resolved to oppose coal seam gas in their regions based on the known negative impacts on water supply to agriculture.

At the NSW National Party State Conference 2019, the Boggabri Branch of the NSW National Party submitted a motion that called on the NSW Government to extinguish the expired zombie licences. The motion passed unopposed.

Since then, and since the Santos Narrabri CSG project was approved by the Independent Planning Commission, NSW Agricultural Minister and Member for Northern Tablelands Adam Marshall and Member for Tamworth Kevin Anderson have made public comments* reflecting landholders’ concerns saying zombie PELs should cease to exist.

Breeza farmer Peter Wills said, “Farmers feared that the Santos project was a Trojan Horse for gas companies that were holding onto these expired PELs, and now we have proof.

“We hope these councils will listen to their residents and understand that sustainable farming and coal seam gasfields simply cannot co-exist.

“With the help of these councils, we can put further pressure on the NSW Government MPs to put their money where their mouths are and permanently slay these zombie petroleum licences.”

Tambar Springs farmer Helen Strang said, “We cannot afford to turn one of our nation’s most productive food bowls into an industrial gasfield.

“In Queensland the uncontrolled expansion of the coal seam gas industry has drawn down aquifers, drained bores, and contaminated water, ultimately driving farmers and communities from the land.

“We cannot afford to repeat those mistakes here.”



The NSW Agricultural Minister and Member for Northern Tablelands Adam Marshall said on the ABC Country Hour on 9 October 2020:

“I want to see certainty for the many residents and farmers covered by these PEL’s across the Moree Plains Shire so they know once and for all there is no possibility of gas activity on those very rich agricultural lands” “There is no need for these PEL’s to exist.”

Member for Tamworth Kevin Anderson commented regarding CSG exploration on ABC New England Breakfast show on October 14 2020:

“I do not want it on Prime Agricultural land, in the black soil, in my area.”

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