Gamilaraay will not back down in fight against Santos

Gamilaraay Next Generation activists address the February 5 rally. Photo: Zebedee Parkes

A rally called by Gamilaraay Next Generation and supported by Workers for Climate Action was organised on February 5 outside the Hunter Gas Pipeline company's offices in the CBD.

Young activists spoke about the campaign to save the Pilliga Forest from Santos’ fracking plans and condemned the company for currying favour with the local community by sponsoring a rugby game between the NSW Waratahs and Queensland Reds.

The gas pipeline is going to be essential for Santos to be able to transport coal seam gas out of the Narrabri to export options — Kooragang Island in Newcastle is where the construction of a new gas hub has been given “critical status”.

On the same day in Narrabri, Gamilaraay Next Generation took action against Santos’ sponsorship of the rugby season.

Meanwhile, Stop Coal Seam Gas Sydney sent a letter of concern to NSW Rugby and NSW Waratahs CEO Paul Doorn that day, asking him to reconsider the “decision to sign up Santos Ltd as a platinum partner with the Waratahs for the next three seasons”.

“The company simply wants to capitalise on the good name and healthy associations which the Waratahs and the game of Rugby Union have in people’s minds,” spokesperson Bronwyn Vorst said.

“Partnering with Santos in this way is a deeply divisive move it is causing distress to local people because they love the sport.

“It reminds us of the duplicitous campaigns by cigarette companies in the 1970s and 1980s to associate their product with healthy sporting activities,” a practice that was banned in 1992.

“There are partnerships which would better serve both Rugby NSW and the young players within the code,” Vorst said, including “companies which aim to preserve nature and offer a future for the young players free from the effects of pollution and climate change”.

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