Farmer and grandmother Anne Kennedy travelled more than six hours from her property near Coonamble to voice her opposition directly to gas company CEOs at a forum entitled The role of Gas in Australia’s Energy Future in Sydney this morning.
More than two hundred people turned out to protest against plans of gas giant Santos and APA Group, a major gas pipeline company, at a the forum hosted by the Committee for Economic Development Australia.
The protest was held in opposition to the proposed 850 well Narrabri Gas Project in the Pilliga forest and the associated 450km gas pipeline. The protesters argue that coal seam gas has no part to play in Australia’s energy future.
Mrs Kennedy, who has is president of the Great Artesian Basin Protection Group is fearful for the safety of underground water that is vital to the survival of farming in North Western New South Wales.
‘My shire of Coonamble on the edge of the Pilliga forest, is not only under threat by groundwater depletion from Santos’ coal seam gas, we’re also faced with the APA Pipeline passing straight through our productive region’, said Mrs Kennedy who will turn 70 on the weekend.
‘Our Shire is over 96% opposed to CSG. We will not let gas pipelines go through our properties and we will come together and blockade if it comes to it.’
Sydney residents have joined farmers and Gamilaraay people from North West NSW to support their battle to protect Traditional Country and farmlands from coal seam gas.
Gamilaraay woman Vanessa Hickey also travelled eight hours to be at the protest today ‘Our ancestral country is under threat from Santos’ gasfield plans,’ said Ms Hickey. ‘Gamilaraay people have not given consent for coal seam gas in our sacred Pilliga forest.’
The protest today is backed by mounting analysis that coal seam gas is a major contributor to climate change and is unnecessary in the transition to renewable energy.
Gas market analyst Bruce Robertson says the export of gas by companies such as Santos has led to domestic price increases. ‘We do not need new high cost onshore gas supplies, they will do nothing to push down prices,’ he said. ‘There is a global gas glut and gas prices have crashed internationally.
‘More high cost onshore production will only make Australia more uncompetitive.’
Cherry Hardaker, a Knitting Nanna against Gas and a resident of Bulli said that as member of Stop CSG Sydney and a grandmother, she is determined to keep up the fight until there is a total ban on CSG across NSW.
‘We must ensure a safe environment for our grandchildren.’
Protestor and gas market analyst Bruce Robertson on the ‘gas crisis’
and financial woes of the industry