Independent MLC Justin Field has today introduced a Bill to establish a moratorium on coal seam gas in NSW that would press pause on the Santos Narrabri Gas Project, establish no-go zones for coal seam gas including on agricultural land and introduce a public interest test for proposed CSG developments.
The Bill will renew pressure on the NSW Coalition Government over the Santos Narrabri Gas Project and in particular on the Nationals who lost the seat of Barwon at the recent state election to the Shooters, Fishers and Farmers Party in part over CSG and water management issues.
“The Bill I have introduced today is modelled on a previous moratorium bill introduced by the NSW Labor Party in 2015. The Greens, Shooters, Fishers and Farmers, Animal Justice Party and Christian Democratic Party have all previously voted for, or supported, legislation or policies that endorse a moratorium on coal seam gas. With those parties on board we can pass a coal seam gas moratorium Bill through the NSW Legislative Council.
“I’m committed to working with all parties on this Bill to ensure it serves the best interest of our land, water and regional communities and can pass the Upper House and send debate on this issue to the Legislative Assembly.
“The community have long opposed coal seam gas development in NSW and now it is time for the Parliament to act.
“While the Bill seeks to put in place a regime to protect communities, the environment, water and agricultural land from coal seam gas development across all of NSW, it is important to consider this Bill in the context of the current proposal by Santos to drill 850 coal seam gas wells in the Pilliga Forest near Narrabri.
“Santos have failed to address genuine concerns by the community and government agencies about their project and have breached the agreement they struck with the NSW Coalition Government in 2014. There are significant water management and waste salt issues that have not been resolved from the company. This project represents an industrialisation of the landscape than is not compatible with a farming district, a significant area of critical woodland and a recharge zone for the Great Artesian Basin.”
There is a unique opportunity with a new Government, new ministers and a new balance of power in the Upper House to reset the State’s approach to unconventional gas development in NSW. We do not need to put at risk our land and our water when the world is quickly moving to new and exciting alternatives in renewables energy,” Mr Field said.