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Seriously? CSG Licence Buy Back Excludes Sydney Drinking Water Catchments


Today the Baird Government announced the buy-back of coal seam gas licence PEL 463 that covers the Sydney Basin. However the Sydney Drinking Water Catchments that provide water to 4.5million people are still covered by other licences.

“Now is the opportunity for Premier Baird to protect Sydney's drinking water catchments from all mining, coal seam gas and coal,” said Isabel McIntosh, Protect Sydney’s Water Alliance spokesperson.

“If the NSW government is genuine about putting in place protection against the health and water risks of coal seam gas mining it must also cancel licences PEL 444, 442, 454 and 2 that cover the special areas of Sydney Drinking water catchments and contributing water flows,” said Ms McIntosh, a resident of the inner west and 2010-2012 campaigner against coal seam gas mining in the inner city suburb of St Peters.

“On Sunday in a survey of households in Premier Baird’s electorate, 96% of people said they wanted better protection for water catchments and farmland.  While mining is still allowed in Sydney Drinking Water Catchments that protection is not in place.”

“Substantial areas of Sydney’s water catchments are still covered by coal seam gas licences. Before the government at the moment is an application for nine new longwalls and 5 million new tonnes of coal to be extracted. It is inconceivable that Sydney is the only city in the world that allows mining in publicly owned water catchments.”

“Existing coal licences have already let coal mining into these protected areas of the Sydney Drinking Water Catchments. Every day long wall mining in the special areas is damaging swamps, cracking river beds and threatening the long-term security of the water for Sydney’s 4.5 million people.” 

“It’s a great deal for the gas mining company to get $200,000 today for PEL463, a licence that was worthless. It’s not a good deal for people of Sydney while the licences covering their catchments still remain.”

Media Contact and Spokesperson

Isabel McIntosh, Protect Sydney’s Water Alliance, ph 0412 407472



  • PEL463 was sold by NSW government to Dart Energy for $1000 in 2008. It was bought back from UK company iGas by the NSW government for $200,000 in 2015. Not a bad deal considering the book value of the licence was $0.
  • Coal seam gas licences PEL 444, 445, 454 were ‘granted’ to APEX Energy by the previous NSW government for seemingly no payment.
  • PEL 2 is owned by AGL and covers most of Greater Western Sydney and North to near Newcastle.

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