Knitting Nannas protest 'zombie' gas licences

Sydney Knitting Nannas protest against zombie PELs. Photo: Sydney Knitting Nannas and Friends/Facebook

The Sydney Knitting Nannas and Friends organised a protest on May 5, complete with music, to demand the NSW government cancel gas export licences across the state.

These yet-to-be-used Petroleum Exploration Licences (PELs) cover 56,000 square kilometres of the state, from the Upper Hunter to the Queensland border. The zombie PELs are potential gas wells, that are not active now. But, like zombies, they could be brought to life any time. Along with these plans, the state would licence big gas pipelines to run across the state.

The Nannas called on all parties to support a private member’s bill being proposed by Justin Field, an independent MP, to cancel all the PELs to assist First Nations’ peoples, regional communities and more.

“The Santos Narrabri Gas Project of 850 gas wells was given conditional approval by the Independent Planning Commission in September last year,” Marie Flood said.

“If the expired licences are resuscitated by the NSW government, Santos and other gas companies will resume exploration to expand gas mining and turn the North West into an industrialised wasteland. This has already happened in Queensland.

“Moves by gas companies to reactivate the PELs are also a response to the federal government sinking billions of taxpayer dollars into five new gas fields across the country: the entire Gunnedah Basin, where the Narrabri Gas Project is located, is one of the [Scott] Morrison government’s gas targets,” Flood said.

There is strong opposition to gas mining in the area covered by the PELs. The future of gas exploration is a live issue in the upcoming Upper Hunter state by-election, which covers part of the area affected by potential gas mining, with anti-gas candidates likely to gain considerable support.

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