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The Greens launch report calling for improved protection for the Pilliga and Leard forests

Greens candidate for New England Mercurius Goldstein and Senator Rhiannon today launched the ‘Protecting our precious environment' campaign that calls for improved environmental protection for the Pilliga and Leard forests.

Former Greens leader Bob Brown is supporting the campaign.

Mr Goldstein said "We are seeing areas of great environmental significance like our public Pilliga state forest face serious threats from CSG mining.

"Due to government-approved CSG operations in the Pilliga, there are now multiple sites of ongoing damage from saline and chemically-contaminated ‘produced water' spills out of holding ponds operated by Santos.

"There has been no regrowth on sites where the water first spilled several years ago. Even after dead trees have been bulldozed and new surface material added to create open ground for tree-planting tests, nothing is growing over the areas where the contaminated water spilt," said Goldstein.

"Efforts to rehabilitate and replant at well sites are also completely inadequate. At wells where some new trees were planted, it's clear the species is not indigenous to the region. It's an ecological mess.

"The Leard Forest in the Liverpool Plains is also in dire straits, suffering devastating deforestation from the expansion of open-cut mining, severely affecting wildlife and local farming communities that provide a food belt for the city.

"Since the Nationals won't protect our public forests and neighbouring farmland from coal seam gas, in this election we are asking the public to back the Greens' push for an end to coal seam gas in Australia," said Goldstein.

"In New England we can lead the way by being a net exporter of clean, renewable power to the rest of NSW and Australia. We need to start investing in renewable energy and stop plundering the iconic Pilliga and Leard forests for outdated and harmful resource extraction methods," said Mr Goldstein.

Senator Rhiannon commented on the campaign, which has been kicked off state-wide with the release of a 30 page comprehensive report on NSW's diverse natural environments and the dangers they face.

"Successive governments in NSW and federally have weakened the laws that are supposed to protect the environment and regulate the impacts of development and mining.

"The Greens NSW report ‘Protecting our precious environment' is a key part of our election platform. NSW natural environments are under a range of serious threats and this election is an opportunity for people to be informed and to add their voice to the call for greater protection," she said.

Former Greens leader Bob Brown has lent his support to the Greens NSW for the campaign and has called for the public to vote one for Greens candidates across NSW as the best way to stop federal and state government environmental destruction.

Mr Goldstein and Senator Rhiannon have welcomed Dr Brown's support.

Dr Brown in announcing his backing for the Greens NSW latest environmental protection campaign said that "anyone who cares for the future should not vote for Labor or the Coalition ... it is essential to vote first for the Greens NSW".

Mercurius Goldstein: 0434 919 606
Lee Rhiannon: Maddy Williams 0421 214 305




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