News / Community / Business / 30th July 2020
Community voice concerns during IPC public hearing
Originally set down for five days, the Independent Planning Commission (IPC) public hearing into Santos’ Narrabri Gas Project has been expanded to a week in order to accommodate a record number of applications to speak during the online forum.
Hearings commenced on Monday, 20 July, and ran through until Saturday, 25 July.
There was strong representation from Coonabarabran residents during last week’s hearings, with more than 20 local people delivering addresses to the IPC.
Their voices joined the daily chorus of landholders, community groups, individuals, scientists and specialists from Gilgandra, Mullaley, Moree, Coonamble and across Australia, vehemently opposing the contentious coal seam gas (CSG) project.
Extensive presentations from David Kitto, director of the Department of Planning, Industry and Environment, and Kevin Gallagher, chief executive officer and managing director of Santos, on the first day of proceedings contrasted against the five minute time slots allocated to the majority of the remaining 399 speakers.
While Narrabri Shire Council and the Narrabri Chamber of Commerce are in full support of the project, the overwhelming majority of speakers have requested the IPC reject the project.
Coonabarabran resident, Kodi Brady, delivered a powerful and passionate speech on the second day of the hearings, however, he was speaking as an individual and not in his capacity as Warrumbungle Shire councillor.
“The people of Coonabarabran are a resilient lot, we endure quite a bit of hardship in silence,” Mr Brady said.
“It takes a lot to get us to speak out, but here we are today, to speak out.
“CSG mining is dirty. It leaks methane. It involves moving toxic substances into open air pools. It will poison the waters of the Great Artesian Basin. How much - who knows? When - who knows?
“It will pollute our gorgeous night sky, the first Dark Sky Park in Australia with needless light.
“The Pilliga doesn’t belong to us, we as people belong to it.
“And like the bushfires we fear every season, CSG is a year round danger to the environment.”
On the fourth day of the hearing schedule, a number of expert witnesses from universities and agencies outlined their objections to the project, questioning many aspects of the proposal and the science and testing behind it.
This resulted in the IPC calling a special meeting with Santos and the Department of Industry, Planning and Environment.
A final day for the hearings will be held on Saturday, 1 August, while written submissions will be accepted up until Monday, 10 August.
It is expected that the IPC will hand down its final verdict on the future of the Narrabri Gas Project by mid- September.