PRODUCERS from across the Liverpool Plains have banded together in a bid to prevent gas exploration being carried out in their district.
More than 200 locals shared their views at meetings held in Warrah, Spring Ridge, Mullaley, and Emerald Hill last week, after the state government announced several expired petroleum exploration licences (PELs) would be reinstated.
The meetings' objectives were to keep locals informed of where the latest developments left them and what they might mean for their operations.
Mullaley producer Margaret Fleck said locals were furious about the state government potentially opening up the area to gas exploration.
"Across the Liverpool Plains, hundreds of farmers have met to discuss how they will fight the Perrottet government's outrageous decision," she said.
"We will not allow polluting coal seam gas to gain a foothold on the Liverpool Plains."
Last week's meetings come after NSW Deputy Premier Paul Toole announced some of the remaining PELs, which cover more than 500,000 hectare of land in areas such as Narrabri, Boggabri, Quirindi and Gunnedah, would be reinstated, prompting fresh fears from locals.
However, shortly after the NSW Nationals leader's announcement, the state government also announced that expired PELs 456, 452 and 6 would be cancelled.
The decision meant the PELs that covered areas across the Moree, Scone and Murrurundi regions.
Mr Toole said the decision to cancel the three PELs was in line with the state government's future of gas plan, which was released last and meant 77 per cent of existing zombie PELs were cancelled.
"At the time we committed to reducing the areas covered by the PELs by 77 per-cent, and to support the Narrabri Gas Project," Mr Toole said last week.
"And that is exactly what we are doing - we are honouring that commitment. This is a big win for many parts of regional NSW, creating certainty for landholders and industry alike."
Despite some of the PELs being axed, producers across the Liverpool Plains have voiced concern that the renewal of PELs in that the region that are either wholly owned or partly owned by Santos would lead to a similar fight that they had against coal mining giant Shenhua and its Watermark project.
"[Former NSW Premier] John Barilaro said there would be no mining on the Liverpool Plains but his successor Paul Toole has thrown that commitment in the bin," Ms Fleck said.
"Farmers on the plains remain defiant and just as we sent Shenhua packing, so too will we ensure that Santos, or any other gas company, never drills for coal seam gas in our precious food bowl."
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