Lock the Gate Alliance demands the NSW Perrottet Government refrain from influencing the assessment process for Santos’ coal seam gasfield in the Pilliga Forest and surrounding farmland.
Media has reported Premier Dominic Perrottet will this week meet with Santos boss Kevin Gallagher in a bid to “fast track” the gasfield.
Santos is still uncertain of the petroleum reserves in the area, and even if it obtains the several management plans it is seeking, it still intends to conduct further appraisal drilling.
The Native Title Tribunal is also yet to hand down a decision after the Gomeroi Nation voted against the project.
Gomeroi Traditional Owner Karra Kinchella said, “It’s highly inappropriate for Dominic Perrottet to be egging Santos on as we wait respectfully for the Native Title Tribunal to make its determination.
“Gomeroi voted against the destructive gasfield because it will threaten the Pilliga and the groundwater beneath it, including the Great Artesian Basin.
“Dominic Perrottet claims he respects First Nations' aspirations to protect our cultural landscapes. Well, he’s not showing it.”
Mullaley Gas and Pipeline Accord spokesperson Margaret Fleck said, “Farmers did not give days if not weeks of their time and energy during the gruelling IPC assessment just for Dominic Perrottet to step in and force Santos’ gasfield through.
“Farmers are joining forces with landholders along the entire proposed route to oppose Santos’ planned 620km Hunter Gas Pipeline. Santos needs this pipeline to get gas from Narrabri to the coast, but it’s finally realising at the 11th hour that it won’t be able to just bulldoze farmers and build it.
“The NSW Perrottet Government now has egg on its face because it backed an unpopular and uncertain project to the hilt, and it’s pulling out desperate measures to try to force it on the people of the north west.”
Lock the Gate Alliance NSW Coordinator Nic Clyde said, “If Santos is finding it difficult to meet the IPC’s conditions, then that’s a problem for Santos - not Premier Perrottet.
“By trying to over-ride government departments and rush this polluting project through, Premier Perrottet is thumbing his nose at his government’s own promises on climate action, and rushing NSW headlong towards more extreme weather.
“The Victorian and ACT governments both have plans in place to dramatically reduce fossil gas use and eventually wean their economies off it entirely. The Perrottet Government has no such plan and is busy trying to ram through new climate-wrecking projects like the Pilliga gasfield.
“Premier Perrottet’s focus should be on protecting NSW consumers from high-priced gas by helping homes and businesses electrify as fast as possible, rather than risking farmland, groundwater, and the climate for Santos' unwanted coal seam gas.”