Today Australian Senators will call Narrabri home for a day to hear local community groups and traditional owners’ concerns about unconventional gas mining in the Pilliga, Leard and nearby regions that feed into the Great Artesian Basin.
Greens Senator Lee Rhiannon has spent yesterday and this morning with front-line activists at the ‘Pilliga Push’ base camp.
“This week I will meet with farmers, grandmothers and Gomeroi traditional owners who are protesting Santos’ plans to place up to 850 CSG drilling rigs throughout the Pilliga,” said Senator Rhiannon.
“National land and water assets like the Great Artesian Basin are threatened by unconventional gas mining, and these local communities have made their opposition clear to me and to the Australian Senate.
“It is alarming to think that the NSW Liberal-National government led by Premier Mike Baird has threatened Narrabri locals with up to seven years prison and thousands of dollars in fines, simply for engaging in peaceful democratic protest against a gas project that threatens their livelihoods and our irreplaceable natural assets.
“Meanwhile former National Party leaders have gone on to work for the likes of the Narrabri gas project and Whitehaven coal, so it’s clear whose side they are on.
“These developments are all relevant to this Inquiry,” said Senator Rhiannon.
Senator Rhiannon was joined by Greens federal election candidates for New England and Parkes.
New England Greens candidate Mercurius Goldstein said, “It is inspiring to see Narrabri locals defend their land and water, as New England farmers face the same struggle against the Liverpool Plains coal mine.
“We welcome the Senators who are on the Inquiry into CSG to our region and urge that they listen and learn from the locals who are committed to protecting the farmland and the natural environment for future generations.
“I urge the Senators to remember that successive federal governments have been too close to the mining industry and that has clouded their judgement.
“The Liberal, National and Labor parties have received donations from mining companies. The NSW Labor government also picked up hundreds of millions of dollars in license fees.
“Locals are looking to the Senators on this Inquiry to show some courage and to not give in to pressure from the major parties and the mining industry.
“With the Greens Parkes candidate Matthew Parmeter, and Senator Rhiannon we are a united team committed to working with the community to protect the Namoi Valley and Liverpool Plains against the threat of CSG and coal mining,” said Mr Goldstein.