Farmers threatened with gas exploration on critical agricultural land
1 February 2023 - Farmers and communities in the Gunnedah Basin and Liverpool Plains have again had to resort to blockade roads to protect some of the State's most productive farmlands from fossil fuel development. This week roads near Gunnedah were blockaded by the community as gas giant Santos continued their seismic testing for coal seam gas despite commitments that these gas resources would not be developed. Santos in lockstep with the Government is determined to exploit the land and water of NSW’s most productive agricultural area.
Greens MP and spokesperson for coal and gas, Sue Higginson, said “Once again the Coalition Government has thrown farmers into conflict with fossil fuel bullies. Coal seam gas development on the Liverpool Plains and Gunnedah Basin cannot be allowed to proceed. Agriculture and gas development are not compatible and I call on the Government to support the community over bullies in the fossil fuel industry,
“I visited with farmers and landholders last month and they were shocked at the plans for seismic testing by Santos and gobsmacked that the Government was backing corporate bully Santos. These communities have already fought over a decade long battle to protect farmlands against fossil fuel development and if Santos and the Government think they can get away with this - they are dead wrong,
“The NSW Government needs to rein in Santos now, buy back these exploration licences and extinguish them. The contribution to climate change that these new gas developments would make is a reckless and dangerous mistake. We need a decarbonisation plan in NSW, not new gas,
“Local councils, industry and individuals are all moving away from gas as public awareness catches up with the science of climate change. The domestic market for gas is shrinking, we do not need new gas. This is all about monetary gain for Santos’ shareholders, which will be very short lived,
“We have to stop this short sightedness. Coal seam gas development on these critical agricultural lands is bad land use planning, poses an unacceptable risk to their agricultural capacity and creates conflict,
“The brave action by farmers this week to block the seismic testing is a testament to their commitment to protect land and water from Santos’ fossil fuel profiteering. These communities deserve to have the backing of their Government.