Lock the Gate Alliance has slammed the NSW Government for allowing a five year extension for the lapsed decade-old approval of the Queensland-Hunter gas pipeline, saying farmers had faced uncertainty due to the planned project for long enough already.
“This poorly thought out proposal was first approved ten years ago and the company has done nothing since. The world has changed dramatically since then and there's no place in it for this coal seam gas pipeline," said Lock the Gate spokesperson Georgina Woods.
“The NSW Berejiklian Government is puffing to keep the embers burning for controversial and unpopular coal seam gas in the state's north west when they should have been doused years ago.”
In October last year the company applied for an extension for five years, but the approval lapsed on 11 February this year without an extension being granted.
However, on the very last day before the caretaker period commenced ahead of the NSW election, the Planning Minister Anthony Roberts made a new regulation which appears specifically designed to extend the lapsed deadline on the pipeline by 12 months.
“This is a case of the government changing the rules to suit mining interests, when they won't lift a finger to protect people and the environment,” Ms Woods said.
“At a time when farmers in the north west are battling unprecedented drought, the last thing they need is the threat of this pipeline and Santos’ destructive Narrabri gas project.
“This pipeline has been directly linked to the proposed Santos Narrabri CSG project that farmers in North West NSW have fought tooth and nail against for nine years.
“Coal seam gas puts precious groundwater at risk and to see the NSW Government resuscitating this gas pipeline when farmers are at their wits end with the threat of CSG is very disappointing."