A GROWING alliance of farmers rallying against coal seam and tight gas is making its presence felt across Australia, and in NSW the latest front is the Pilliga.
Three meetings in relation to a controversial proposed gas pipeline across the Pilliga are convening, or have already convened, this week.
APA Group, contracted to build the pipeline that will carry Santos-mined gas into a national network, has organised two public consultation meetings, in Tottenham yesterday and Coonamble today.
The third, on Saturday, has been organised by a group against the pipeline, known as the Great Artesian Basin Protection Group.
APA said its meetings were to “provide community members with an update on activity on the Western Slopes Pipeline Project, and the opportunity to ask APA Group representatives any outstanding questions they have about the project”.
“Both meetings will be facilitated by an independent moderator, former Dubbo Mayor Mathew Dickerson, to ensure all views are fairly represented,” a company spokesman said.
“If community members would like to submit questions in advance of the meetings, they are invited to email them to firstname.lastname@example.org.”
The company spokesman said APA would not be represented at a Coonamble anti-pipeline community meeting on Saturday. “APA has respectfully declined,” he said.
APA’s Tottenham meeting was at the War Memorial Hall from 5-7pm Wednesday and the Coonamble meeting is at Coonamble Bowls Club, today from 5-7pm.
Saturday’s GABPG meeting will be at 2pm at the Coonamble Bowls Club.
One of GABPG’s convenors, David Chadwick, said the rationale behind the community meeting was bringing people together.
“The people of Tottenham need to know what has upset the people of Coonamble and the people of Coonamble need to know what the people of Tottenham are thinking,” he said.
Mr Chadwick said APA had clearly stated it would break down future meetings into smaller consultations and he considered that a divide and conquer approach in a bid to get APA’s project across the line.
“That is what we don’t want,” he said.
Mullalley Gas and Pipeline Accord chairman David Quince threw his support behind GABPG.
“You can say ‘we don’t want the pipeline’, but you don’t need a pipeline if you don’t have CSG,” he said.
“One of the big problems is that this has been introduced by stealth and deceit – I know of free flowing bores in Queensland that are now at 40 per cent of their capacity since they started mining gas near Condamine,” he said.