The Lock the Gate Alliance has described the NSW government’s decision to sign a memorandum of understanding to designate the controversial Narrabri gas project in the Pilliga forest a ‘Strategic Energy Project’ as a deep betrayal of farmers and the bush that will intensify conflict in north-west NSW.
Lock the Gate national coordinator Phil Laird said, ‘Farmers in the north-west will be gutted by this move by the NSW government to fast-track Santos plans for a massive CSG field in our region, while we are facing a potentially crippling drought.
‘To have the NSW government back a project in this way before it has even been assessed for its impact on groundwater and the environment is not only irresponsible, it is a betrayal of farming and rural communities.
‘This deal was signed in secret, without any chance for the community to comment or have any input.
‘It is a perversion of our democracy, and another example of how political donations from coal seam gas companies are distorting proper processes in this country.
‘Already, farmers have been forced to take direct action to protect the groundwater that is the lifeblood of the north-west.
‘This move from the government is a clear signal that there will be no due process when it comes to coal seam gas in our region: we’re on our own, and we will have to keep fighting for our livelihoods and our country.’
Eight people have been arrested blockading Santos’s Narrabri exploration project in the Pilliga forest in the last ten days, including several farmers.