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Community & Business

3 September, 2023

No Coal Seam Gas Gilgandra and District Inc AGM notes

By Jan Robertson, NCSGGDInc Chair 2023

The 10th AGM for No Coal Seam Gas Gilgandra District Inc (NCSGGDInc) was held at the Services Club on Wednesday, August 2, 2023. The committee of seven was successfully voted in. The group aims to flag to the residents of the Gilgandra Shire, important activrvrrrrrrrrrities of the Coal Seam Gas (CSG) industry and its development in the remaining Petroleum Exploration Licences (PELs) of NSW.


Chairperson’s Report - by Jan Robertson

Welcome to the 10th annual general meeting for No Coal Seam Gas Gilgandra District Inc. We have now enjoyed 15 months of no Petroleum Exploration Licenses over the Gilgandra LGA. The fossil fuel indus- try is still however, very much alive in NSW and Australia.

On a global scale, weather events in 2023 are continuing to sharpen public perception that the climate is warming, and that perhaps some of the forecast rates of change were inaccurately slow. Reports in the media are more dramatic than ever before.

I’m not a fan of drama in media (stick to the facts) but urgency is definitely accelerating. United Nations secretary-general António Guterres stated on July 27, 2023, “The era of global warming has ended; the era of global boiling has arrived. .... For vast parts of North America, Asia, Africa and Europe – it is a cruel summer. For the entire planet, it is a disaster. And for scientists, it is unequivocal – humans are to blame. All this is entirely consistent with predictions and repeated warnings. The only surprise is the speed of the change,” said Mr Guterres.

The Guardian environment journalist George Monbiot wrote in the last few days: “A recent scientific paper showed that climate breakdown is drastically increasing the chances of simultaneous crop losses in the world's poorest nations. The effects of this could be devastating.

We face an epochal, unthinkable prospect: of perhaps the two greatest existential threats – environmental breakdown and food system failure – converging, as one triggers the other. So why isn’t this all over the front pages? Why, when governments know we’re facing existential risk, do they fail to act? Looking back on previous human calamities, all of which will be dwarfed by this, you find yourself repeatedly asking “why didn’t they ... ?” The answer is power: the power of a few to countermand the interests of humanity. It always has been, but the stakes are now higher than ever.”

Mr Monbiot pushes back against this “powerful few” through his writing to inform the masses via the Guardian. We do our bit personally and as members of this group, by standing up to be counted when we can to resist further degradation to our water and environment by CSG mining. If everyone took part, regardless of how small the part, the planet might perhaps be in bet- ter shape right now.

In NSW, despite a change to a Labour Government, Sue Higginson (MLC, NSW and previously a former public interest environmental lawyer) has exposed through her questions to parliament, that they have no intention of reversing the Narrabri Gas Project (NGP) approval.

More interestingly, Chris Minns is on the record, both live on the news (where he confused the IPAC- Information and Privacy Advisory Commission, with the correct IPC-Independent Planning Commission, when answering Sue Higginson!) and in the written media, saying they would not interfere with the “approvals” for CSG on the Liverpool Plains. This is obviously inaccurate as no CSG sites on the Liverpool Plains are near approval yet. Sadly though, it does show the NSW government’s intention to follow through on new fossil fuel developments.

And from Queensland today, Lock The Gate asked for assistance to halt the Queensland government’s push for gas onto the channel country. The impact of uncon- ventional gas development is hard to comprehend on this extraordinary, flooding land formation.

Australia is not alone. The Guardian, July 31, 2023, also reports that the UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak has just “announced 100-plus new drilling licences in a “maxing out” policy that environmental groups said would obliterate the UK’s climate commitments”. Many other countries can be added to this example. The need for our group and others like it remains solid. Many voices make a loud one and humanity needs a loud voice more than ever.

This year our activity has been less than previously, but steady. The NGP is progressing very slowly, awaiting appr- oval and construction of connecting pipelines, the outcome of a Gomeroi /coalition of unions court challenge, and the Santos financing decision now expected late 2024. The slower, the better. The Liverpool Plains is still being explored, but also, slowly. With the passing of time, the consequences of new fos- sil fuel developments become ever-more obvious. With mounting pressure of evi- dence and united voices, common sense and reason must win.


2023 NCSGGDInc Activities:

During the past year we have sponsored and attended the North West Alliance CSG stand at AgQuip, support- ed through sponsorship the Gilgandra and Tooraweenah shows, canvassed can- didates for the last NSW state election and published their responses to inform Barwon voters of their stance on CSG, participated in the Spring Ridge information day for those potentially impacted by the development of CSG on the remaining PELs on the Liverpool Plains, and circulated information to members when relevant.

Again, I thank our stalwart committee for staying the distance and supporting the ‘No Coal Seam Gas’ cause. I make special acknowledgement of secretary /treasurer Colleen’s attention to time and detail, without which our group would run much less efficiently. I wish the incoming committee the best for progress over the coming 12 months, as well as for a mild summer, against the odds of current world trends and BOM predictions. 

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