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Renewal of final “zombie” coal seam gas licence on eve of Federal Election another cruel blow to NSW farmers

The decision to quietly raise from the dead 90,000 hectares of the final “zombie” petroleum exploration licence on the eve of the Federal Election exposes the NSW Perrottet Government’s disdain for farmers and desperate attempts to avoid scrutiny.

Part of the renewed part of PEL 427 sits within Adam Marshall’s electorate and the Moree Plains Shire. Mr Marshall is on the public record opposing coal seam gas in his electorate.

The renewed part of the tenement is owned jointly by Santos and Comet Ridge, and borders Santos’ existing tenement which contains the company’s Pilliga (Narrabri) gas project.

The decision follows the renewal of three other expired petroleum exploration licences (PEL 1PEL 12, and PEL 238) for coal seam gas in the days before Easter earlier this year.

While the renewal of the 90,000ha has not yet been gazetted, its status has been updated on the NSW Government’s Common Ground website to show it now expires in 2028. It’s believed this change was made in the past 24 hours or less.

Lock the Gate Alliance National Coordinator Georgina Woods said the renewal of the final zombie PEL put farms and groundwater at risk at a time when politicians should be doing everything in their power to protect Australia’s food growing capabilities.

“It’s shocking to see the Perrottet Government continuing to permit coal seam gas exploration on some of the state’s best farmland,” she said.

“In less than a month, the Perrottet Government has put more than one million hectares of NSW land and the groundwater beneath it at the mercy of the polluting coal seam gas industry.

“Coal seam gas is incompatible with a thriving agriculture industry and resilient rural communities. 

“The Perrottet Government has given gas companies the green light to pockmark farmland with gas wells and further fuel dangerous climate change, which is in turn making it harder for farmers to grow food and fibre.

As recent community meetings have shown, locals will not passively accept the renewal of these licences. The Perrottet Government now has one hell of a fight on its hands.”


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