No role for gas, say protesters

Protesters outside the gas industry forum on August 3. Photo: Lock the Gate

Gamilaraay elder Auntie Bowie Hickey and daughter Vanessa Hickey expressed their deep gratitude to those protesting outside a gas industry forum on August 3.

The Wilderness Society called the protest to highlight the widespread opposition to Santos’ Narrabri gas project in the Pilliga Forest.

“Gamilaraay people have not given consent for coal seam gas in our sacred Pilliga forest,” Vanessa said. She was joined by farmers from north-west NSW and residents from Newcastle, Illawarra and Sydney who converged on the Sangri-La Hotel where Santos CEO Kevin Gallager was spruiking the industry as a critical energy provider.

Inside, Gallagher admitted that widespread community opposition to unconventional gas had prevented Santos from developing the Narrabri project. That, he said, was the reason for the “east coast gas crisis” and he demanded that governments step in to help the gas industry. He also said that Santos was “still committed to the Narrabri project”.

Outside, farmer Anne Kennedy said: “My shire of Coonamble on the edge of the Pilliga forest is not only under threat of groundwater depletion from Santos’ coal seam gas, we’re also faced with the APA Pipeline passing straight through our productive region.

“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,” she said to chants of “No coal seam gas”.

David Quince, a farmer from near Gunnedah and Neil Kennedy from Coonamble spoke about the ruthlessness of the gas industry and its lack of interest in the contamination of water, including the Great Artesian Basin.

Market analyst Bruce Robertson called out the lie that there is a shortage of gas and prices are rising due to shortages. “There is a global gas glut and gas prices have crashed internationally,” he said.

Knitting Nanna Cherry Hardaker from Stop CSG Sydney said AGL must be stopped from continuing to risk communities’ health in Camden, in south west Sydney. She called on everyone to “keep up the fight until we achieve a ban on CSG across NSW”.

Pictures available from Lock the Gate.

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