This week the Planning Assessment Commission granted approval to a sixteenth coal seam gas (CSG) borehole in the Illawarra.
You can find The Planning Assessment Commission’s determination on the NSW government website.
We’ve been asking for some time the question “Just who does the NSW government work for?” It is now abundantly clear who O’Farrell represents. It’s not communities, and the concern we express for our water, environment and health; it’s the CSG industry.
In approving this new exploration well the O’Farrell Government can no longer claim the situation is simply a Labor legacy issue. The NSW Coalition is developing this industry.
It is outrageous to grant new CSG approvals while the parliamentary inquiry – set up in response to evidenced risks and community opposition – is still underway. This decision exposes the Planning Assessment Commission’s public ‘consultation’ as a sham. Every single presentation argued against approval.
The well contravenes local environment controls and flies in the face of concerns raised by the Sydney Catchment Authority – the organisation tasked with protecting our drinking water. This approval advances a project that risks the drinking water of 4.3 million people in NSW.
The decision fails to register the cumulative impacts of the project, as well as the reason exploration is happening: to develop a gas field in the drinking water catchment.
Of course, if the Government won’t protect communities, we’ll have to do it for ourselves. This decision only strengthens our resolve to act to stop coal seam gas.