A REPORT commissioned by one of the state's leading environmentalist groups has highlighted the potential damage the Queensland-Hunter Gas Pipeline may cause to farming land and koala populations.
The report, commissioned by Lock the Gate Alliance NSW and conducted by independent consulting firm Cessoils, found the 620km-long NSW section of the pipeline, which would stretch from Wallumbilla, Queensland via Santos' Narrabri Gas Project to Newcastle, could be catastrophic for farming land and koalas in the state's North West.
Across the NSW section of the project, the report found the pipeline would cover 31 Indigenous cultural sites, 4446 hectares of biophysical strategic agricultural land and 1014ha of koala habitat.
"This is not your average suburban gas pipeline - it will require a massive trench to be dug across 620km in NSW," Lock the Gate Alliance NSW spokeswoman Georgina Wood said.
"The Hunter Gas Pipeline will have a destructive impact on cultural values, farms, and wildlife habitat.
"A damaging project like this should absolutely not be boosted with public money from the federal government."
Retired soil scientist Ian Daniells, who has significant experience working in the region, said the farming land of the Liverpool Plains was among the best in the world, and a gas pipeline could pose a serious threat to its productivity.
"The soils of the Liverpool Plains are excellent for cropping. They store a lot of moisture, they are highly fertile, and the rainfall in that district is highly suitable for cropping," he said.
"The soils are risky soils to run a gas pipeline through because they swell and shrink as they become wet or dry.
"If the pipeline company takes out that much land, it's going to be a loss to agriculture on these highly fertile plains."
A spokeswoman for the project said the report had raised factors that the company was "considering as part of the construction environment management plan".
"The consultant's report also overestimates the impact of the pipeline through calculation. While the approval is for a 200-metre corridor, the actual impacts will be a construction corridor of 30 metres," the spokeswoman said.
"The impact of the corridor will be limited even further through final route selection reducing the clearing and other impacts as part of the final construction route planning."
Hunter Gas Pipeline continues to liaise with landholders, local and state government agencies as they move towards geotechnical survey work in 2022.
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