Gas pause rejected
The NSW Government has voted down a bill to temporarily stop coal seam gas activity.
The bill was defeated 38 votes to 36, despite it having the backing of Labor, the Greens, the Shooters Fishers and Farmers (SFF) and other independents.
There has been enormous concern about the potential impact of Santos’ Narrabri Gas Project, which will extract coal seam gas from wells on farmland and in the Pilliga forest. Opponents are concerned that mining could impact the groundwater supply in the Great Artesian Basin.
Deputy Premier John Barilaro read a letter from Narrabri's Mayor, Cathy Redding, during deate over the bill. In the letter, the Mayor expressed her support for the project, and urged against any delay.
“The Narrabri Gas Project … has the potential to assist Narrabri to leverage our economic strengths,” Councillor Redding said.
People for the Plains president Stuart Murray said the comments show the deep divisions among the Narrabri community.
“There is a big swag of people's views that are being hidden and dismissed by the mayor's letter,” Mr Murray told reporters.
“This is causing even more distress and hurt.”
Former Chief Scientist of NSW, Professor Mary O'Kane AC, made 16 recommendations in 2014 on how to mitigate the risks of the coal seam gas industry, but official inquiries this year revealed just two of those had been fully implemented.