Media Releases - 30 September 2020

IPC Approves The Narrabri Gas Project

Despite the overwhelming opposition to the Narrabri gas project, including submissions from thousands of people, the Independent Planning Commission (IPC) has approved the Narrabri gas project.

“This move is devastating for Australia’s natural and cultural heritage. The Pilliga forest is a million wild acres of forest and woodland that serves not just as a vast pool of biodiversity but as intact landscape it preserves crucial elements of our country’s history. It should be protected and iconised as a national treasure, not used as a cheap playground for mindless fossil fuel companies hellbent on profiting from planetary annihilation,” said Eleanor Lawless, campaign manager at the Wilderness Society Newcastle. 

The Santos gas fields also threatens the livelihoods of the farming community and everyday Australians when they should be supported through the bushfire recovery, drought and pandemic with a recovery that supports building back better for climate and nature.

“The path out of economic downturn is not the Government’s undemocratic push to fast track the Narrabri Gas Project and erode community rights. Instead, this is an opportunity to be championing a clean energy revolution with jobs and growth through manufacturing and construction in the renewables sector.  

“Adopting nature and climate solutions will result in stronger communities and healthier and happier lives for us all. Let’s keep gas in the ground to build back better for a bright future for all Australians, not a handpicked elite,” said Ms Lawless.

Santos’ Narrabri Gas Project will see 850 coal seam gas wells drilled into the Pilliga Forest and surrounding farmland. The local community, including Gamilaraay peoples and farmers have been strongly opposed to the destructive project for a decade. Thousands of people made submissions to the IPC and 95% of the presentations at the Public Hearings in July were objections to the project. 

“The pressure heaped upon the IPC by state and federal governments to make this decision has undermined our democracy and corrupted proper process. An approval under these circumstances has not bought Santos social licence, it has actually further eroded it. Communities will see through a stitch-up done in the interests of the fossil fuel lobby. The Narrabri gas project is risky, unwanted and unnecessary,” continues Ms Lawless.

“Propping up the dinosaur gas industry continues to endanger our planet’s life support systems and locks us into the climate crisis. We must build back better, together. This is a key moment for our country’s future, where we can get it right—or wrong. A good economic recovery means better outcomes for community, climate and nature.” 

For further comment contact Eleanor Lawless on 0438 031 010