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Water, farmland, and koalas at risk as Jemena progresses fracked gas pipeline plans

Lock the Gate Alliance and Galilee Basin landholders are alarmed after multinational gas pipeline company Jemena lodged an application for a pipeline that would tear up hundreds of kilometres of land and threaten waterways if built. 

According to the federal Department of Environment's own 2019 assessment, the pipeline would also require the clearing of up to 134.54 hectares of koala habitat and 20ha of high-quality koala habitat, which would have a significant impact on the species.

The proposed pipeline would carry fracked gas from Galilee Energy’s Glenaras gasfield west of Aramac in Queensland’s Galilee Basin to existing pipelines near Injune, north or Roma. That's despite the fact Galilee Energy has not yet extracted commercial quantities of gas from its field. 

Jemena, which is owned by China State Grid and Singapore Power made the Petroleum Survey License application (PSL2051) on November 12 last year (see attached). 

If approved, the survey licence would allow entry to up to 374 properties.

According to separate documents (lodged 18/07/2019 ) given to the Federal Government, the proposed pipeline would cross 18 major watercourses in total, including the Maranoa and Warrego rivers, and nine watercourses that are located in the environmentally sensitive Lake Eyre Basin. 

The pipeline would traverse the Channel Country Strategic Environmental Area on the Barcoo River and would also cut across habitat for threatened species, including the Koala.

The application comes after the Morrison Government identified the Galilee Basin as one of its regions earmarked for unconventional gas exploitation under its deeply flawed and heavily criticised plan to waste taxpayer dollars expanding the Australian gas industry.

Galilee Basin grazier Bruce Currie said the planned pipeline would threaten the region’s agricultural and environmental values.

“This pipeline will inevitably aid gas companies who want to build sprawling fracked gasfields across the Galilee Basin, irreparably industrialising this iconic part of the outback with massive impacts on our grazing businesses that depend entirely on ground water,” he said.

“Industrialisation of the region will interrupt the flows of important and relatively pristine rivers while causing soil erosion and increasing the spread of invasive weeds.

“Gas pipelines of this scale are extremely risky - there are examples where pipelines have caused explosions or caused the surrounding environment to become contaminated.

“They also lead to conflict with landholders, which in this case is potentially more than 300 families whose lives will be impacted.

“We need sustainable solutions for the Galilee Basin’s future prosperity, not farmland and water wrecking fossil fuel projects.”

Lock the Gate Alliance spokesperson Ellie Smith said, “This gas project will impact two regions that are already under extreme pressure from fossil fuel developments - the Galilee Basin and the Channel Country.

“If approved, this pipeline would open up the Galilee Basin to intensive gasfields, threatening farmland, water resources, and natural areas. 

“The project even threatens the Beetaloo Basin in the Northern Territory, given Jemena plans to use it as a cross-continental link to ultimately join up with the Northern Gas Pipeline.

“Destroying huge swathes of Queensland for gas simply isn’t sustainable, particularly at a time when countries around the world are turning away from fossil fuels in order to meet their commitments to tackle climate change.”

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