The Nature Conservation Council of NSW has joined state and local environment groups for a two‐day
emergency meeting on the protection of the largest native forest west of the Great Dividing Range
which is under immediate threat from a large, inappropriate coal seam gas development.
Eastern Star Gas is seeking government approval for a coal seam gas field covering 85,000 hectares of
the precious Pilliga Forest, a unique natural area more than five times the size of the Royal National
Park. If approved, this proposal would be the biggest coal seam development in NSW.
Nature Conservation Council of NSW, Chief Executive Officer, Pepe Clarke said, “Right across our state,
local communities and the environment are being trampled in the rush of an unrestrained expansion
of mining and coal seam gas extraction.
“Over the past two days I’ve seen first‐hand the beauty of the rich Pilliga landscape under threat from
coal seam gas exploration. Areas at risk from the coal field development include internationally
significant bird habitat, native vegetation and forest, and areas recognised for their special natural
value, including the Pilliga East State Conservation Area.
“We’re asking the Federal and State governments to stand with us and the community in defending
the local environment, more than 40 threatened species and groundwater supplies from the threats of
coal and coal seam gas mining in the north west,” Mr Clarke said.
Northern Inland Council for the Environment, spokesperson, Carmel Flint said, “The Narrabri region is
the new 'frontier' of mining in NSW. Here, coal and gas developments are ballooning out of control at a
rapid rate – transforming our rural landscapes into an industrial zone and targeting some of the most
significant vegetation remnants left in NSW.
“At Maules Creek we already have two open‐cut coalmines, and we are now facing two major
expansions and two new open‐cut mines that are proposed for the Leard Forest area.
“This out‐of‐control race to dig up coal and extract coal seam gas cannot continue without extracting a
heavy toll on our health, our lifestyle, our community and our local environment,” she said.
Environment groups represented at the Pilliga meeting included: Beyond Zero Emissions, Caroona Coal
Action Group, Colong Foundation for Wilderness Friends of the Pilliga, Hunter Environment Centre,
Nature Conservation Council of NSW, National Parks Association of NSW (Armidale Branch), Northern
Inland Council for the Environment, Rising Tide and The Wilderness Society.