Sydney has been brought to a standstill by thousands of climate protesters marching their way to NSW Parliament.
The CBD’s Macquarie Street was completely blocked off by up to 3000 activists on Thursday in an authorised protest against the Narrabri Gas Project – which aims to supply up to half of NSW’s gas needs by 2025.
Protesters were calling on the state government to put an end to the Santos Coal Seam Gas plans for northwest NSW — that has been supported by both the Coalition and Labor. Protesters believe the project will have a detrimental impact on the Pilliga Forest and groundwater.
The group made its way through the city after meeting at Customs House in Circular Quay at 11.30am.
The protest was a product of collaboration between the Country Women’s Association, Unions NSW, NSW Farmers and Lock the Gate Alliance.
Members of the public were appealed to join the groups in a Facebook event page.
“It’s time for a united and powerful stand. Join us outside NSW Parliament in solidarity with Gomeroi people defending culture and farmers needing certainty for ongoing food production,” the event page read.
“Santos’ coal seam gas (CSG) plans for north-west NSW, including the proposed Narrabri Gas Project, are opposed by Gomeroi Traditional Owners, farmers, the union movement and civil society.
“There are significant concerns these plans will have a detrimental impact on the Pilliga Forest and groundwater as well as threatening highly productive agriculture on the Liverpool Plains.”
Santos, the gas company behind the Narrabri Gas Project, previously called on the Minns Government to fast track the $3.5n project to avoid imminent energy inadequacies.
The project aimed to supply up to half of NSW’s gas requirements by 2025.
Both the Coalition and Labor have thrust support behind the project, however it has been affected by delays, including with the Hunter Gas Pipeline which would connect the Narrabri project to the market.
Premier Chris Minns has yet to announce whether he would fast track the project, however it was reported in March he expressed support to Santos chief executive Kevin Gallagher before he was elected.
Santos in December defended itself against questions regarding the impact the project would have on the environment and the land with rich Aboriginal history.
The company claimed it was doing necessary consultation with Traditional Owners to conserve the land as best it could.
“Santos will continue to engage constructively with the Gomeroi people and work closely with them to ensure their heritage is protected and they benefit from the project development in a range of ways, including through training and employment, and involvement in all aspects of their cultural heritage protection and management,” Santos said in a statement.
“Santos has a strong track record of working collaboratively with First Nations peoples in Australia and internationally.
“The company has a range of cultural heritage and native title agreements in place with 23 Traditional Owner Groups and six Aboriginal Land Councils around Australia.
Santos has been consulting and working with the Gomeroi people since 2012, and in formal negotiations regarding the Narrabri Gas Project since 2015.
“Narrabri natural gas is essential to ensure Australia’s energy transition to renewables and cleaner energy technologies maintains both energy security and affordability for all Australians over the coming decades.”
More to come.