Narrabri gas project decision

Dear Ed,

The Grafton Knitting Nannas Against Gas are appalled at the decision of the NSW Independent Planning Commission (IPC), a NSW Government agency, to give Santos approval to develop an 850 well gasfield in the Pilliga Forest and surrounding farmland near Narrabri.

For years there has been strong opposition to this enormous project – both in the immediate area and further afield.

The Gomeroi people are concerned about the threat to aboriginal heritage; farmers fear the impact of the project on local aquifers and the recharge zone of the Great Artesian Basin; and some opponents are worried about the safe disposal of the saline water produced as the gas is extracted.

As the gasfield expands, clearing for roads, pipeline routes, well surrounds and ponds for produced water in the ecologically important Pilliga Forest, the largest temperate woodland in NSW, will cause devastating fragmentation of natural habitat creating problems for many local fauna species – including threatened species such as Black-striped Wallabies, Koalas and Eastern Pygmy-possums.

While the Grafton Knitting Nannas oppose this damaging project because of the impacts on the local area, they are also very concerned about its impacts beyond the north-west of the state.

At a time when Australia needs to urgently reduce its carbon emissions, we have mindless governments pushing for expansion of a dirty fossil fuel industry and its emissions and indulging in porkies about the necessity for this expansion.

Politicians obsessed with fossil fuels claim more gas is needed to reduce the price of gas for domestic consumption and say gas will super-charge the economy after COVID, provide huge numbers of jobs and act as a transition fuel as we move to a clean economy.

The Nannas are appalled that the three-man panel of the IPC has ignored the local concerns and the climate issues and has accepted the dubious economic claims of Santos and the politicians.

We agree with those opposing this disastrous development. We say, “This fight is not over yet.”

Leonie Blain
The Grafton Knitting Nannas against Gas