Government must not gamble with rich agriculture region through ongoing mining exploration activities, says CWA of NSW
The NSW Government must rule out further Coal Seam Gas (CSG) exploration on the Liverpool Plains to ensure long-term protection for the agriculturally-significant region of North-West NSW, says the Country Women’s Association (CWA) of NSW.
The renewed call to quarantine the Liverpool Plains from further CSG activity comes after the announcement last week that approval had been given for CSG exploration about 20km west of Gunnedah, part of the Plains area.
The NSW Resources Regulator has approved a request from energy giant Santos to reactivate the legacy coal seam gas wells in the area, with local landholders expressing their concerns over the decision, which they have always opposed on the grounds of potential adverse impacts on the local environment, including groundwater resources.
CWA of NSW’s president Joy Beames said the Association had voiced its opposition previously to CSG projects that had the potential to impact agriculture and local communities – such as Santos’ Narrabri Gas Project - and had been calling for definitive protection of the Liverpool Plains for some time.
“We are talking about some of the richest farming land in Australia and to risk this area in any way is short-sighted and irresponsible. We want the new NSW Government to put a stop to any further CSG and coal exploration in this valuable area in order to protect it for future generations and ensure the ongoing prosperity of this region,” Joy said.
“This latest decision has come as a shock to local farmers and residents and it’s time the Government gave these communities some certainty about the future and long-term viability of this area.”
Joy said the Association had written to new Minister for Energy, and the Environment, Penny Sharpe, and Minister for Finance and Natural Resources, Courtney Houssos, inviting them to visit the region and speak with local stakeholders.
“We hope she accepts this opportunity to come to the Liverpool Plains and meet with the people who are directly impacted by these decisions, and who are among those who have the most to lose from any potential damage from CSG exploration and mining activities. There is too much at stake and too much to lose if we don’t act now,” she said.
For more information or interview requests contact Kylie Galbraith (Seftons) on 0411 480 208.