03/01/2012: These documents reveal that the NSW Government has effectively handed over the Pilliga State Forest, one of our most precious publicly-owned natural assets, to coal seam gas miners...

Environment groups today released documents obtained under Freedom of Information which show that Eastern Star Gas (now Santos) have obtained a 30 year permit from the NSW Government to access the Pilliga State Forest, near Narrabri, for coal seam gas mining.

Documents include the Occupation Permit signed by Eastern Star Gas and Forests NSW in February 2011 which provides the company with access to the Pilliga State Forest, and the aggressive correspondence leading up to the signing of the permit.

“These documents reveal that the NSW Government has effectively handed over the Pilliga State Forest, one of our most precious publicly-owned natural assets, to coal seam gas miners until the year 2040” said Carmel Flint, spokesperson for the Northern Inland Council for the Environment.

“The occupation permit has been granted before Santos even has approval to produce gas commercially from the area.  It pre-empts and therefore prejudices the proper legal processes that are required before an approval is granted under the planning laws.

“The Pilliga is a precious community asset but this occupation permit was signed behind closed doors without any opportunity for public comment.

“The NSW Government will receive $2,500 per gas well per year in the Pilliga which equates to 0.3% of the revenue Eastern Star Gas expect to get from each well[1].

“The correspondence obtained with the FOI shows that Eastern Star Gas went on a ruthless campaign to sideline Forests NSW and used heavy-handed legal threats to push their agenda whilst negotiating the permit. They appealed directly to the Crown Solicitor, the Minister for Primary Industries, and NSW Minerals and Energy, demanding that the fees sought by forestry be reduced.

“These documents provide a disturbing insight into the ruthless way coal seam gas companies do business” said Naomi Hogan, a campaigner for The Wilderness Society.

“Eastern Star Gas spoke at the Coal Seam Gas Senate Inquiry in Narrabri in August and stated they were not looking at chasing the land court option. Now, we see the coal seam gas company threatened arbitration at the first sign landholder negotiations were not going their way.

“If this is the way coal seam gas companies treat governments, then heaven help small landholders who are left to deal with them on their own.

“The legal status of the occupation permit now that Santos has acquired Eastern Star Gas is uncertain.  We are calling on the NSW Government to scrap this flawed permit and to reclaim the Pilliga State Forest for the people of NSW.

[1] Eastern Star Gas advised the Senate Inquiry into Coal Seam Gas in the Murray-Darling that they expect revenue of $800,000 per year.  See p63,


Comments RSS
  1. Some day the earth will weep,
    she will beg for her life, she will
    cry with tears of blood.
    You will make a choice,
    if you will help her or let her die,
    and when she dies, you will die too.

    Wherever you walk there once was a forest.
    Plant & protect Danny’s trees for life…….
    Trees are the lungs of the earth.

    By: Bette Mioduski . March 1, 2012 . 1:01 am . Reply

    • My Submission
      Dear Sir or Madam,I am totally oepospd to fracking being used in the Tweed Valley of NSW.There is not one aspect of this industry I would support.I am appalled to see the use of the word minimise when you talk about health risks. How can any government allow any industry to affect the health of residents? Minimise just isn’t good enough. All Australians have a right to good health and it should never ever be put at risk.Neither should good farming land, or land that is as environmentallyas biodiverse as that in the Tweed Valley.The thing that concerns me the most if the fire hazard this industry would cause. Leaking methane gas, escaping into a valley which fills with heavy fog most nights has to ring alarm bells. This valley is heavily forested with both rain forest and worse,. sclerophil forest.Areas in the Tweed are already recognised by fire authorities as being high fire risk areas. How can you even consider adding methane to the coctail of eucalyputs trees, inaccesable locations, heavy dry undergrowth, and a reasonably large rural population living within these heavily timbered areas. Further more, many residents in the Tweed take very seriously our aboriginal community and their connection to this land. To pepper this sacred place with gas pipes and drilling sites is to me disrespectful, unthinking and scandlous. Hardly the way to show we are sorry This area is known as the rainbow region, strongly connected with aboriginal custom and tradition. Many people were attracted to come and live here for spiritual reasons and many have a strong sense of connection with the earth. To drill deeply within it for the sake of the dollar will bring these people out and they will fight any mining company that should venture into this area. This could turn very ugly and no Australian should have to fight to protect his land, his health, his home, his childrens future so a few fat lambs can grow even fatter.This issue is far more important than jobs, government revenue or anything else you can name..Up here, we see it as fighting for our lives, and fight you we will.Sincerely yours,Julie McNamaralot

      By: Alan . March 5, 2015 . 5:16 pm . Reply

Leave a comment

Allowed tags: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>