The Pilliga

The Pilliga

As Australia’s gas supply is sold off for export, life-supporting ecosystems like the Pilliga forest risk being carved up for unconventional gas. We’re the ones standing in their way.

At the heart of an agrarian landscape long since cleared of vegetation lies half a million hectares of rare intact temperate eucalypt woodland. The Pilliga forest.

It’s more than a wildlife refuge. This area feeds clean water into the Great Artesian Basin — the crucial life support system for much of inland Australia. It’s here that the company Santos plans to drill up to 850 coal seam gas wells.

The threat to life

Few industries are as notorious as coal seam gas. 

Everywhere it goes, it's preceded by its reputation for degrading farmland, groundwater, waterways, air quality, and the health of workers and nearby residents. 

But with the days of easy gas behind us, this expensive and risky extraction method has become all too common. 

Gas. Just another fossil fuel. 

In recent years, gas has been rebranded as a clean-burning transition fuel in the fight against climate change. The reality is, it’s up there with the worst contributors. Wellheads and pipelines leak potent methane gas into the atmosphere. In the immediate term, the heat-trapping effects of methane are over 80 times stronger than carbon dioxide. 

Ignore the industry spin. There’s no room in our carbon budget for new gas development.

Gas fields at Chinchilla, Queensland

The damage is already being felt. 

During exploration activities alone, toxic spills and briny wastewater have already left creeping forest ‘kill zones’. Santos has already been fined for contaminating groundwater aquifers with uranium. 

But it’s the risk to vital underground water sources like the Great Artesian Basin that local communities fear the most. If this basin was contaminated or depressurised, life for 22% of inland Australia would never be the same. 

We’ll be here until that threat has passed.


Our vision

For a liveable climate, we need to keep fossil fuels in the ground. Gas is no exception. 

To protect important ecosystems like the Pilliga, the high-risk extraction methods required for coal seam gas production must be ruled out. 

We want to see the project halted and gas off the table as a transition fuel. This will bring us closer to the clean and abundant energy future Australians deserve. 

With Santos and the threat of gas development gone, the Pilliga forest will remain a vital part of our freshwater supply — and an extraordinary refuge for our native wildlife.

What we’re doing: 

  • Advocating for new laws that support the life our lives depend on. 
  • Working with experts to feed into the regulatory process. 
  • Supporting local communities to voice their opposition. 
  • Keeping the media updated on risks and challenges. 
  • Pressuring Santos board and shareholders to abandon the project. 
  • Meeting with politicians of all stripes to highlight the risks of CSG.