Narrabri locals protest at Santos AGM

Farmers, businessmen and Traditional Owners from north-west NSW travelled to Adelaide on May 3 to tell Santos and its shareholders at the company AGM it will face a rural uprising if it proceeds with the Narrabri coal seam gasfield.

They were joined by South Australian locals who oppose Santos’s plans to drill for oil in the Great Australian Bight, telling Santos it has “No Licence to Drill” because these projects do not have community support.

Santos plans to drill 850 gas wells in NSW’s last great inland forest, the Pilliga, and the surrounding productive Narrabri farmland, threatening recharge aquifers of the Great Artesian Basin.

Outside the AGM Gamilaraay Traditional Owner Judy Kaye Knox said: “I’m here representing the opposition of my people to this destructive industry. The Pilliga is considered the heart of our vast Gamilaraay nation and we do not want coal seam gas continuing to impact the irreplaceable natural and cultural values of the Pilliga Forest. Enough damage has already occurred.”

Coonamble farmer David Chadwick said: “When town, Aboriginal and farming communities across the 5.5 million hectares of five shires surrounding the Narrabri-Pilliga region return a staggering 97% opposition to CSG and declare ‘this is a war for water’, you have a problem. When these communities are supported by their shire councils, the Labor Party, the Shooters, Fishers and Farmers Party and the Greens, clearly Santos and the Coalition are on notice that this project does not have a social license.”

Gunnedah farmer and councillor David Quince said: “The whole farming community in north-west NSW is still determined to stop this project. Will Santos continue to flog a dead horse against the will of the local people? Santos has said it won’t go where it’s not wanted; it’s not welcome anywhere in north-west NSW.”

Narrabri local Rohan Boehm has been actively opposing Santos’s plans the Pilliga Forest for more than five years. He said: “In NSW the community movement has successfully shut down several other gas projects. During the Narrabri Gas Project’s exploration phase alone, more than 60 people have been arrested in peaceful protests, including dozens of locals. We have a demonstrated capacity to conduct a sustained campaign against Santos’s Narrabri CSG project.”

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