APPEA has urged NSW Labor to reconsider plans to stop the Narrabri Natural Gas Project if elected.
The organisation states that preventing the project would forgo the creation of 1400 jobs in the state’s North West, royalties, significant income for farmers and the chance to supply up to half of the state’s gas needs.
APPEA Acting Chief Executive Paul Fennelly said: “The continued politicisation of the state’s gas supply by the ALP sends a very loud message to anyone wanting to invest in NSW and an even louder message to the people of regional NSW wanting to grow their economies and support small businesses.
“It’s time for political leaders to focus on the looming threats to the NSW economy from a transitioning eastern Australian gas market.
“The ALP must recognise the fact NSW imports 95 per cent of its gas from interstate without the need to do so.”
Last year, the NSW Chief Scientist released a report that found that the industry’s technical challenges and risks can be safely managed and noted the high standards of engineering and professionalism in natural gas companies.
The main proponent of the project, Santos, has also released a statement addressing voter concerns about the project.
Peter Mitchley, General Manager – Santos Energy NSW, states:
“The Narrabri Gas Project is about providing much-needed energy to NSW.
“The project could supply up to half of NSW natural gas needs. This is the natural gas that heats and powers more than 1 million family homes in NSW and fuels 34,000 businesses and industries that supply essential goods and employ hundreds of thousands of workers.
“The AWU warned that more than 200,000 jobs would be at risk without a safe and secure gas supply. Developing the Narrabri Gas Project will help maintain these jobs.
“The project will create up to 1200 jobs during construction and 200 ongoing jobs. It will deliver significant opportunities and benefits to the local Narrabri area and north west NSW.
“The Narrabri Gas Project will not take water from the Great Artesian Basin and it will not affect the recharge of the GAB.
“The part of the Pilliga in which our Narrabri Gas Project is located, was set aside by the NSW Government for forestry and extractive industries following a thorough ecological assessment. Our project area is largely dry scrub land in the State Forest and is outside the sections of the Pilliga protected under the National Parks and Wildlife Act. Government mapping found our project area does not include Strategic Agricultural Land and where we do seek to work on private land, we will only do so with landholder consent.
“Our operations will be located on about 1000 hectares – far less than 1% of the Pilliga – and from that relatively small area we can provide up to half of NSW’s natural gas needs.
“Santos adheres to very strict environmental standards. We are finalising a comprehensive Environmental Impact Statement for the project, which will explain in detail how we will manage any impact from our work.
“The industry itself is well understood and highly regulated by the Government and regulatory authorities. The Chief Scientist, Professor Mary O’Kane conducted an eighteen month review of the coal seam gas industry and concluded that:
- The industry carries no more risk than any other extractive industry;
- CSG extraction and related technologies are mature and that Australia is well equipped to manage their application; and
- With appropriate safeguards and controls, natural gas from coal seams can be safely extracted.
“The project could deliver more than $1.6 billion in royalties fund infrastructure and service to NSW, while delivering a safe, secure and affordable source of energy for families and businesses.”