14 August, 2020
Santos Gas Field Public Hearing Commences
Eyes across the state will be on the proceedings of the NSW Independent Planning Commission (IPC) as hearings begin this week. The IPC proceedings are the final step in the approval process for Santos controversial 850 well Coal Seam Gas (CSG) Narrabri Gas Project (NGP).
David Kitto, the state's top mining assessment bureaucrat was one of the first to address the hearings, which began yesterday, July 20. Kevin Gallagher (Santos CEO) followed Mr Kitto. Gilgandra Shire Council's Lindsay Mathieson addressed the IPC hearing this morning (Tuesday).
The council minuted a decision in 2016 to support the Gilgandra shire community's wishes, following a resounding 98.09% opposition to CSG in the shire, as determined by a shire-wide community survey.
Jan Robertson and Colleen Fraser from No CSG Gilgandra District Inc. will present this afternoon (Tuesday) in opposition to the project.
Mrs Robertson, chair of the group, said "Colleen lead the majority of the community survey process and will speak about the local community opposition to CSG, and how meticulous the local process was. My time presenting will be used to discuss the local concerns about the impacts of CSG if the Narrabri Gas Project goes ahead." In all, 401 people have registered to present to the IPC hearings.
They represent a range of groups, organisations and individuals. As a result of these numbers, seven days have now been allocated for the hearing. This was extended from five days, and the hearing will now run into August.
Due to COVID-19 restrictions, the hearings will take place electronically, with speakers able to present from their own homes or offices, or to travel to Narrabri where space and technology has been made available. The IPC will remain in Sydney. The electronic hearings will be broadcast publicly via the IPC website, or via dialing in to a live audiostream.
No CSG Gilgandra District Inc. is imploring anyone with concerns to make a submission to the IPC. We've worked hard to ensure that we represent our community on this issue, said Mrs. Robertson. Our local survey process indicated overwhelming local opposition to CSG. The EIS process saw 23,000 submissions in objection to the NGP.
The IPC is the very final stage of the NGP approval. It has been seen in Queensland that CSG expands beyond the initial project, in this case the 850 wells of Narrabri, and Petroleum Exploration Licences (PELs) held by Santos are are still held over most of the shire.
There is no process for appealing any decision made by the IPC as the consent authority for the Narrabri Gas Project. This really is our very final chance to oppose it and to protect our local groundwater and community.
Anyone is able to make a submission, and we ask that you do. Submissions close at the end of this month, said Mrs Robertson.