News / Business / Community / 5th August 2021
Positive outcome: zombie PELs extinguished
Local farmers, landholders and communities across western NSW have been given greater certainty and clarity about what the future looks like, with the State Government outlining its plans for the gas industry and where it will and won’t allow gas development.
The NSW Government’s Future of Gas Statement, released in July, commits to reducing the land available for gas exploration across the state by 77 per cent, significantly reducing areas permitted for potential gas exploration in the state.
This will see the removal of the Petroleum Exploration Licences (PELs) across Warrumbungle, Coonamble and Gilgandra shire areas. The Narrabri gas project PELs will remain active.
Following months of appeal by the community and his office to the NSW Government, Member for Barwon, Roy Butler, has welcomed the news.
“The extinguishing of the zombie PELs is a hard fought win for these communities, they’ve lived with the uncertainty of gas exploration and extraction on their land for far too long - I welcome the certainty that this decision brings,” Mr Butler said.
“The NSW Liberal-National Government has been dragged kicking and screaming to this point by the community. It shouldn’t have gone on for this long.
“The PELs that remain enable the Narrabri Gas Project and really set it up for future expansion based on a number of facts that have been proven wrong and inaccurate several times over.
“The Future of Gas Statement spurts data directly from reports commissioned and paid for by the proponent of the Narrabri Project - Santos, they’ve never been independently verified by the NSW Government and yet here we have the government justifying its support of the gas industry in NSW on the basis of false information."
Deputy Premier and Minister responsible for Resources, John Barilaro, said the NSW Government had heard the concerns of communities.
“While a secure gas supply will help to unlock opportunities for energy intensive manufacturing at the proposed Narrabri Special Activation Precinct, it is just as important communities receive their fair share,” Mr Barilaro said.
“Gas will, for some time, be an essential source of energy for the manufacture of fertiliser, construction materials, food and an energy source in our homes, as some coal-fired power stations reach end of life.
“Without investment in additional gas supply, from a mix of sources, we risk facing a supply shortage on the East Coast as soon as 2023 and that’s why we’ve presented a balanced approach today for future gas exploration and production.”
However, Mr Butler said the NSW Government was still misreading the room on the Narrabri Gas project.
“We have just been through the worst drought in living memory, which showed us just how important groundwater is and our regional communities know how important groundwater is - punching through those groundwater aquifers to get gas places the entire future of Narrabri and surrounds at enormous risk. For gas, that isn’t worth it.
“There are a number of communities celebrating their victory over the NSW Government with the news that gas extraction in the Far West is off the table that win really goes to the community. They stuck together with a united and emphatic - no.
“I implore everyone to keep at it, keep voicing your opposition.”