Annual Report 2014

Stop CSG Sydney Inc.

 Annual Report 2014

Stop CSG Sydney is a non-partisan group of concerned residents and citizens who are united around the following objectives:

1.      To permanently stop all coal seam gas and unconventional gas mining activities in St Peters, and across Sydney;

2.      To achieve a moratorium on coal seam gas and other unconventional gas mining projects pending the outcome of a Royal Commission into the long and short-term physical, social, economic and environmental impacts of the industry; and

3.      A ban on hydraulic fracturing (‘fracking’) and similar coal bed ‘stimulation’ technologies and techniques.

Stop CSG Sydney was formally incorporated on 5 April 2012. We held our first Annual General Meeting on 27 October 2013. Over the last year, we have conducted numerous activities towards achieving the above objectives.

 Those activities include:

Petitions

We helped promote the following petitions:

·         Shoalhaven:  Protect the Shoalhaven’s land and water – a CSG-free Shoalhaven;

·         Blue Mountains: Clean up all processes associated with the approvals, licensing and regulation of the unconventional  gas industry;

·         Illawarra/Water catchments:  Save our Water Catchment Areas (www.s-o-w-c-a.org).

And we have attended several petition presentations at NSW Parliament followed by debates in the lower house (Legislative Assembly), most recently supporting the North West Alliance.

We are now running our own petition to ask the NSW Government to Cancel the PEL 463 Licence that covers St Peters and a large proportion of the Sydney basin.

We held events or joined with other CSG/combined groups

·         Attended National Day of Climate Action on 17 November;

·         With NSW Greens on 22 February, co-hosted at Leichhardt Town Hall a presentation by John Fenton, Wyoming Farmer from USA who toured NSW to reveal the devastating impacts of unconventional gas drilling on his farm and in his local community;

·         On May 25, screened the documentary Fractured Country, an unconventional invasion at Dulwich Hill.  We invited Nell Schofield local co-ordinator of Our Land Our Water Our Future to introduce the film;

·         Assisted OLOWOF and Climate Change Balmain-Rozelle at their event at Leichhardt Town Hall on 12 June “Don’t Undermine our Water”.  Special guests from the Bentley Blockade Jarmbi (Githabul Ngarakwal) and Simon Clough, Lismore Councillor and Chair of Lock the Gate Alliance educated and inspired us;

·         Attended a forum following the screening of Anna Broinowski’s film Aim High in Creation at Chauvel Cinema on 15 June.  Along with Anna, panel participants were Paddy Manning, journalist, Nell Schofield from OLOWOF and Stop CSG Sydney’s Vice President, Pip Hinman;

·         Supported Stop CSG McArthur – Protect ourWater Community Forum on 29 June at Ingleburn.  Speakers included Jess Moore from Stop CSG Illawarra, Helen Redmond from Doctors for the Environment and Mark Ogge from the Australia Institute. Several Labor and Greens politicians also attended and answered questions from the floor;

·         Joined with thousands of other protesters at the March in March, March in May and the Bust the Budget rally on 6 July;

·         Held a forum with Lismore author/ activist and environmental lawyer, Aidan Ricketts, at Newtown Neighbourhood Centre on 25 July at which he gave an overview of the Bentley Blockade near Lismore against imminent unconventional gas drilling by Metgasco;

·         Co-hosted the Knitting Nannas Against Gas with OLOWOF on 9 August at apresentation of their film at the Newtown Neighbourhood Centre;

·         Since 7 August, almost every Thursday, we have joined others from across Sydney and country areas to protest outside AGL’s headquarters in North Sydney against the Government’s announcement to support its plans to start fracking more CSG wells in Gloucester. It was at one of these demonstrations that Sydney campaigners presented a statement to an AGL official calling on the Company to commit “In good faith, to not conducting any coal seam gas activity within two kilometres of homes” at the Waukivory Pilot project near Gloucester;

·         Attended an OLOWOF event at Parliament House on 16 September, which included a film screening of Fractured Country and talks by Julie Lyford (Gloucester Groundswell), Mark Ogge (Australia Institute) and Michael Caton (actor);

·         Provided Stop CSG Sydney panel speaker Adrienne Shilling to join Julie Lyford, Melissa Haswell and Mark Ogge at OLOWOF-hosted public event at Blacktown on 16 September and screening of Fractured Country;  and

·         Lou Steer and Sandy Thompson spoke in support of a motion at the Marrickville Council meeting on 15 September to divest from fossil fuels, highlighting the role of coal seam gas (which is actually methane gas) in contributing to climate change.

Thanks to Brian Martin and Elle Flikier, we have had a great technical team when showing movies and audio-visual presentations at our meetings and events.

We regularly promote actions and activities related to unconventional gas drilling in threatened areas other than our own immediate patch – notably in Bentley, Gloucester and the Pilliga Forest.

Blockades 

Josie Evans and Petra Liverani attended the blockade in the Pilliga State Forest in February 2014 to experience first hand the devastation caused.  Of particular note was that aquifer poisoning had recently been revealed.  Uranium leakage at 20 times the acceptable levels was allegedly caused by an exploratory well in the Pilliga Forest at Bibblewindi.  This was uncovered by the Wilderness Society and some local farmers who acquired documents through FOI.  There are currently 54 CSG wells in the Pilliga Forest.  Santos plans to drill a total of 850 gas wells.

Sandy Thompson and Pip Hinman attended the Bentley blockade near Lismore in the Northern Rivers Region in May 2014. They were able to participate in and observe the operation of the protectors’ camp, and took part in the discussions to assess what the licence suspension of Metgasco meant, and next steps to stopping the CSG rollout in NSW.  It was from this experience that the idea arose for Stop CSG Sydney to develop its “Cancel the Licence” (for PEL 463) campaign.

Held or attended meetings 

Our group holds Committee meetings each month, usually at Alpha House, Erskineville.  Thank-you Zio Le Deux for arranging this venue.  We have averaged one general meeting per month held at Seaview Street Community Hall in Dulwich Hill. Thanks to Adrienne Shilling for arranging venues, agendas, minutes and following up on organisational tasks.

In addition, representatives from our Committee attended two meetings of the combined Stop CSG groups’ network made up of Stop CSG groups from across Sydney, the Illawarra and the Blue Mountains. These meetings were held in Thirroul in April and Campbelltown in August and are an important way for groups to share their knowledge, resources, plans and strategies.  Another combined meeting is scheduled for Newtown on 25 October.

Website 

Thanks to Elle and Brian we are improving the look and feel of our website stopcsgsydney.org.au and special thanks to Stop CSG Illawarra for creating a generic stopcsg.org website with links to local groups including ours.

Newsletter

Thanks to Pip Hinman we have a regular newsletter going out to our extensive mailing list fortnightly.

Stalls and Festivals 

Part of Stop CSG’s role is to raise awareness about coal seam gas and its effects on our environment, communities and economies. We have a part to play in educating people who might otherwise not have heard about CSG or may only be vaguely aware of it. We always need more volunteers to help educate the people who visit our stalls at events and markets and it is a great way to learn about the issues. Throughout the past year, Jenny Seymour has efficiently and reliably co-ordinated volunteers and organised stalls at various venues in the Marrickville municipality, other inner west areas and across Sydney, as follows:

·         The Greens and Socialist Alliance both supported us at Newtown Festival by stocking our merchandise and resources – 10 November 2013

·         Orange Grove Organic Market Lilyfield – 15 February 2014

·         John Fenton talk, Leichhardt with the Greens – 22 February

·         Paddington Market, 22 February, 10 May and 2 August

·         Addison Road Organic Market, Marrickville, 23 March

·         Newtown Market, 24 May

·         Bondi Farmers Market, 5 July

·         OLOWOF – “Don’t Undermine Our Water” Bentley talk and film night, Leichhardt – 12 June

·         Footprints Eco Festival – Annandale  24 August

·         Randwick Eco Living Fair, 14 September, thanks to Rose McMillan for co-ordinating this one

·         Dulwich Hill Village Fair – 14 September

Two more stalls are planned for Marrickville Fair (19 October) and Newtown Festival (9 November).

A special mention here goes to all the volunteers who turn up to help on stalls throughout the year, you are on the front line of our community education work.

Thanks to the income generated from stalls and Paul Benedek’s financial management our finances remained in a healthy position throughout the year.

Campaigns

Pip Hinman and Karol Florek led have led our campaign to Cancel the Licence (PEL 463) which governs St Peters and much of the Sydney Basin.  This has included writing to Minister for Resources, Anthony Roberts asking him to cancel the licence held by Dart Energy.  At Dart Energy’s AGM on 10 September it was agreed by shareholders that the company be sold to UK-based company IGas.  However, IGas wants to sell off all Australian Dart assets.  Stop CSG is concerned this could mean another  CSG company in Australia might buy Dart assets and wait for the market to improve before using PEL 463 to ramp up drilling within the Sydney basin.

 Other action planned for this campaign includes putting a motion to Marrickville Council asking it to support our call to cancel the licence and to declare the local area gasfield-free, and for the Council to write to the Energy Minister also to request cancelling the PEL 463.

We held two simultaneous rallies on 1 September at Sydney Park St Peters and at Cronulla, to highlight our concerns.  We received local media coverage in the August and September 2014 editions of the Inner City Weekender newspaper and in The Leader, Cronulla, and also in Green Left Weekly on 23 August.

 To date, the Minister’s office has formally replied indicating they are waiting for the Office of Coal Seam Gas to review PEL 463 and all other licences in NSW so no definitive information about PEL 463 has yet been forthcoming.

Summary – the way forward

With the NSW State election looming on 28 March 2015, Stop CSG Sydney still has much work to do.  The Baird Government has already made it clear they support a rapid increase in CSG drilling in the Camden area, Gloucester and the Pilliga, to name the most well-known.

While we can and should do what we can to help communities that are on the front line, including visiting the protest camp at Gloucester – we are supporting the state-wide campaign against CSG through our campaign to have the PEL 463 extinguished.

 Through our lobbying, we continue to draw attention to the Government’s contradictory stance of allowing a CSG company to be able to hold more than four million people and their fresh water supply to ransom, while asserting that all urban areas and some regional areas are not under threat.

Stop CSG Sydney is a dynamic, local, grassroots community group with a place for anyone who is concerned about this risky, invasive industry. I would like to thank the Committee for their dedicated efforts during the past year. I encourage anyone who is thinking of being involved in this group to make your own contribution within your own area of skills or interest. I have gained skills and experience and life-long friends during the three years that I have been active in this group.  Although I am leaving Sydney, I will continue this fight and look forward to standing shoulder to shoulder with you on the front lines until our land and water are secure.

Sandy Thompson

President

22 September 2014

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MARRICKVILLE COUNCIL SIGNS ON TO THE CAMPAIGN TO CANCEL THE COAL SEAM GAS LICENSE COVERING SYDNEY BASIN

MEDIA RELEASE; October 14, 2014

 

Stop CSG Sydney President Pip Hinman has welcomed Marrickville Council’s decision at its meeting tonight to support the campaign to extinguish the CSG licence covering the whole of the Sydney basin.

The unanimous council decision came on the same day as the Minister for Energy and Resources Anthony Roberts announced he had cancelled three PELs in NSW.

“We’re very proud to have Marrickville council on board. It has twice spoken out in support of the residents’ campaign against coal seam gas.  Now, it has taken a further step”, said Ms Hinman.

“The council has now committed itself to a campaign to put pressure on the state government in the lead-up to the March 2015 elections to cancel the PEL 463 which extends across the Sydney basin. It will write to the minister asking that he cancel the licence, and it will publicise the issues across the Marrickville LGA.

“Council has committed to educate the LGA about the dangers of unconventional gas mining, and will erect signs around Marrickville declaring that it is a council which does not support coal seam gas.

“It has also committed to investigate a non-binding poll in the 2016 council elections on CSG as a way of adding pressure to get the licence extinguished – if it hasn’t already been cancelled”, said Ms Hinman.

Adrienne Shilling, who also spoke at the council meeting on behalf of the group, said:

“Most Marrickville residents would not be aware that there is a current licence to drill for coal seam gas (CSG) – mainly covering residential areas – across Marrickville and the Sydney basin”.

“And they wouldn’t know that the minister has given approval for Dart Energy to sell that licence to to a UK company IGas which states it doesn’t want to hold Australian assets”.

“The licence expires in October 2015. This means that CSG exploration remains a possibility – possibly after being sold back to a company with licences where fracking is already underway”.

“We want the NSW minister to cancel the licence now. Given the new 2-kilometre buffer zone laws, and the community opposition to CSG drilling, it is an anachronism that there still is a licence to drill in an area where more than 4 million people live and work”, said Ms Shilling.

A hard-fought community campaign over 2011-2012, supported by Marrickville Council, helped stop Dart Energy’s test drill plans for St Peters.

Council supported the local residents’ community group, Stop CSG Sydney (formerly Sydney Residents Against Coal Seam Gas) in its quest to put a stop to a test drill just metres from schools and parks and homes.

 

Marrickville Council passed the following motion:

1. Supports Stop CSG Sydney’s campaign for the extinguishment of the licence held by Dart Energy to drill for coal seam gas that is in operation over the Sydney basin including parts of the Marrickville Local Government Area (PEL 463);

2. Calls on NSW Minister for Resources and Energy Minister Roberts to cancel the licence now under his current powers; and

3. Commits to supporting the campaign by:

a. Writing to the Energy and Resources Minister outlining its concerns about CSG drilling, fracking and the impact of CSG mining on groundwater, and urging the Minister not to allow the licence to be bought by UK company IGas;

b. Advertising this motion and the campaign in the next Marrickville council newsletter and on its website;

c. Erecting signs around the Marrickville LGA that it a ‘Coal Seam Gas Free’ council;

d. Committing to investigate a non-binding poll the 2016 council elections on CSG (to be run by the NSW electoral Commission) to assist the campaign to get the CSG licence extinguished (if it hasn’t already been cancelled).

Media comment:
Pip Hinman: 0412 139 968
Adrienne Shilling: 0411 550 849

STOP CSG SYDNEY

NSW CHIEF SCIENTIST WARNS OF CSG RISKS

MEDIA RELEASE October 3, 2014

 

A long-awaited report by the NSW Chief Scientist and Engineer was tabled on September 30.

The Independent Review of Coal Seam Gas Activities in NSW, commissioned on February 21, 2013 by then Premier Barry O’Farrell, confirms the risks associated with CSG, notes many unknowns remain, and says government regulation of the industry needs to be overhauled.

The recommendations focus on how to develop the industry, not if or under what conditions development would be considered safe. The risks can be managed, the Review states (on page 10).

“In particularly sensitive areas, such as in and near drinking water catchments, risk management needs to be of high order with particularly stringent requirements on companies operating there in terms of management, data provision, insurance cover and incident-response times.’

The report confirms the risks that community members have been talking about for years. It states that unknowns remain and says that regulation of CSG by the NSW Government needs an overhaul.

The report also notes: “… it is inevitable that the CSG industry will have some unintended consequences, including as the result of accidents, human error, and natural disasters”.

Stop CSG Sydney believes that ‘unintended consequences’ with the industry is enough reason to immediately rule out mining in water catchment areas and adopt the precautionary principle across the rest of NSW until the science shows it is safe.

CSG exploration and mining always involves unearthing water that is high in salt and methane, and can contain toxic and radioactive compounds and heavy metals. It involves damage to aquifers, methane leaks and industrial development that are incompatible with our drinking water catchments.

CSG: Not here! Not anywhere!

 

Read the Chief Scientists’ report report here.

See Liberal MP Lee Evans’ reponse here.

See Stop CSG Illwarra’s response here.

See Lock the Gate Alliance’s response here.

See NSW Greens response here.

See Sydney Morning Herald report here.

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CSG LICENCE FREEZE EXTENSION WELCOME, BUT NOT ENOUGH

Media Release September 26, 2014

 

Stop Coal Seam Gas (CSG) Sydney welcomes the NSW government’s decision to continue its freeze on new coal seam gas (CSG) exploration licence applications.

In March, NSW Energy and Resources Minister Anthony Roberts announced the freeze, due to end today (September 26).
Today’s decision means the freeze will now remain in place for another year. However, this freeze doesn’t mean that existing licences are frozen. It means existing applications and licences remain in place, including PEL 463 which covers most of metropolitan Sydney.

Sandra Thomson from Stop CSG Sydney commented: “The freeze on new licences is important. But it doesn’t resolve the fact that the licence covering the Sydney basin, home to over 4 million people, is still ‘live’ and can be activated at any time”.

“The Sydney licence holder, Dart Energy Limited, an Australian company, announced on Tuesday that it had been granted NSW Ministerial approval for a change in control of the licence. This paves the way for IGas Energy plc, a company from the United Kingdom, to acquire Dart Energy.  Why has the Minister approved the transfer of this licence to an offshore company, while at the same time, freezing new licences. This was the Minister’s chance to cancel the licence over Sydney”.

“Existing licences are not frozen, so communities remain at risk. The licence blanketing metropolitan Sydney came with an obligation to drill. The community stopped a potential drill site in St Peters in 2011. Communities is Sydney and across NSW have made it clear they don’t want CSG drilling, and neither do they want a licence hanging over their heads”.

“CSG mining involves unearthing water that is high in salt and methane, and can contain toxic and radioactive compounds and heavy metals”, she continued.  “CSG drilling in the Pilliga poisoned an aquifer with uranium.  A freeze on all CSG licences is needed to investigate CSG so we can know if or under what conditions it is safe. A ban on CSG in drinking water catchments is needed”.

“While the campaign to protect our drinking water has ensured a freeze on CSG development in our catchment, it is temporary. A precautionary approach and protection of our drinking water is just common sense.”
Media enquiries:
Sandy Thompson 0403 195 627
Pip Hinman 0412 139 968

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STOP CSG SYDNEY AGM THIS SUNDAY!

Stop CSG Sydney is screening a short video, made in May, by some of the key organisers of the successful Bentley Blockade (near Lismore).

It looks at how the Bentley Blockade grew to be so potent, and pivotal to the success of the Gasfield Free Northern Rivers campaign to stop Metgasco.

It covers why the NSW government was then, and is now, so determined to override the wishes of the vast majority of the residents of the Northern Rivers? How did the community become so organised?  Why did they have so much support?

We believe there are some important lessons that can be learned from studying other community campaigns against CSG.

Stop CSG Sydney will also be holding its AGM on this day.

Please join us from 3pm-5pm Sunday, 28th September 2014 at Seaview Hall,  12-14 Seaview St, Dulwich Hill.

Afternoon tea will be provided.

All welcome!

Newtown-Fair

SPRING INTO YOUR COMMUNITY THIS WEEKEND

Stop CSG Sydney will be holding two stalls this weekend, at two of Sydney’s great community fairs;

DULWICH HILL VILLAGE FAIR

Sunday 14th September – 10am to 4pm - Marrickville Rd, Dulwich Hill

The Dulwich Hill Village Fair celebrates the delights of the Dulwich Hill village with live entertainment, children’s activities and a huge mix of market stalls including handicrafts, home wares, children’s toys and clothing and homemade preserves and sweets as well as a host of local foods including cakes, pastries, coffee, cheese and deli items and family favourites such as roast chicken.

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For more information visit;  http://www.marrickville.nsw.gov.au/dulwichhillvillagefair/

RANDWICK ECO-LIVING FAIR

Sunday 14th September – 10.30am to 3.30pm
Randwick Community Centre – 27 Munda St, Randwick

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The Randwick City Council’s tenth Eco-living Fair is a free event that provides the perfect opportunity for the community to come together to learn about the benefits of living a sustainable lifestyle.

Now firmly established on the calendar, it is fair to say the Eco-Living Fair is the premiere green event of the east.

Held in the unique setting of the Randwick Community Centre, surrounded by the Randwick Environment Park, the Eco-Living Fair has something for the whole family to enjoy with advice and information on offer from local community groups and green industry experts, delicious healthy food, free entertainment and kids activities and a variety of market stalls selling quality wares.

Many local partner organisations attend to provide information and conduct formal and informal talks and workshops based on the environmental issues that affect our community in their homes, at school and in the workplace.

For more information please go to Eco-Living Fair

18.9.11

MEDIA RELEASE August 24, 2014

Residents say Cancel the licence

Residents across the vast licence (PEL 463) will be holding a protest on Monday September 1 to highlight their concern that a vast amount of metropolitan Sydney remains under risk of drilling for coal seam gas (CSG).

Residents from St Peters, Cronulla and Blacktown will ask the NSW government to cancel PEL 463.

Residents will be meeting at 9am in St Peters  and Cronulla to illustrate the extent of the licence and to tell the NSW government it must cancel the CSG licence covering metropolitan Sydney on Monday September 1.

PEL 463 (see map below) was granted by a Labor state government in 2008 and renewed by the Coalition until 2015. More than 4 million people live in this area.

pel463_dart_map

“The gas licence covering St Peters and most of Sydney must be cancelled”, said Pip Hinman, from Stop CSG Sydney.

“The company holding the licence – Dart Energy – is being bought by the UK-based gas giant IGas Energy which has stated that it wants to sell off its non-UK assets.

“This means that PEL 463 can remain ‘live’ and be sold on to another unconventional gas company at a later date. This is not an option for the community .

“We stopped a test drill at St Peter’s in 2012 just metres from schools, parks and homes. We w a nt to end the uncertainty and get the licence extinguished”, said Ms Hinman .

“The NSW government’s decisions to establish CSG exclusion zones is a welcome step. But they do not go far enough”, said Melinda Wilson from CSG Free Western Sydney.

“Under the Petroleum (Onshore) Act 1991, the Energy and Resources Minister can cancel licences on a variety of grounds. They include: failure to meet licence conditions, including drilling within a specified time, financial standing and ability to comply with regulations. Dart has failed to meet the conditions of its licence.

“Communities do not want fracking near our homes or in our water catchments. We have seen and experienced the damage. We do not want this licence to be on-sold to  a company AGL which has a licence nearby in Camden and is keen to expand”, said Ms Wilson.

Residents will meet at the corner of Campbell and Euston Roads in St Peters  and at the end of Kingsway in Cronulla on Monday September 1 at 9-10am (to coincide with Dart’s AGM in Brisbane).

 

Media inquiries: 

Pip Hinman, Stop CSG Sydney  0412 139 968

Melinda   Wilson : CSG Free Western Sydney (02) 9622 4820

Colin Ryan: Stop CSG Sutherland 0448 689 565

Footprints Film Festival to show “Our Land Our Water” music video

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This is the second year in a row that Stop CSG Sydney member, Bernadette Smith has had her film selected for the Footprints Film Festival.  Her music video titled “Our Land Our Water” will kick off a string of films which are showing as part of the 2014 Ecofestival in Leichhardt, this Sunday 24th in Whites Creek Valley Park.

The video clip was made with help from Eora College students using the song “Our Land, Our Water, Our Future” written, performed and produced by Dexter Moore, as an anthem against Coal Seam Gas. There is footage of anti CSG protests and areas endangered by coal and CSG mining in the Hunter Valley and the Pilliga State Forest.

Stop CSG Sydney will also be running a stall at the Eco Festival from 11am till 3pm.  Make sure you stop in to say hi & sign our latest petitions! Find more event details here; http://www.leichhardt.nsw.gov.au/News-and-Events/Our-Events/Footprints-Ecofestival

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Bernadette Smith is an artist, writer, photographer and experimental filmmaker now based in Sydney.  In 2010 she was Vice President of Octapod, a not for profit independent arts and new media organisation.  And was part of the media team for This Is Not Art Festival in Newcastle. More recently her films were selected for the Cinco de Mayo Cinepobre film festival in Mexico, the Novembrism Underground Music Video Festival in Sydney and the 2013 Footprints Eco Film Festival.  Bernadette Smith is also the official  photographer  for  Stop Coal Seam Gas Sydney and is an occasional  writer  for the Guardian  and other progressive  journals.  http://bernadettesmithfilm.blogspot.com.au/

 

 

 

Upcoming stalls!

Newtown-Fair

We have some fabulous festivals & fairs coming up in the next few weeks. Come along to support Stop CSG Sydney, bring your friends and have some fun!

You can also volunteer with Stop CSG at our information stalls. It’s a great opportunity to meet others and learn about coal seam gas mining. If you’re doing this for the first time, have no fear because we’ll roster you for just two to three hours with someone more experienced !

Stalls are being held at:

Dulwich Hill Village Fair
Sun 14 Sep, 10am – 4pm
Marrickville Road & Seaview Street, Dulwich Hill
Volunteer shifts 10am – 1pm, 1pm – 4pm

Eco-Living Fair
Sun 14 Sep, 10am – 3.30pm
Randwick Community Centre, 27 Munda Street, Randwick
Volunteer shifts 10am – 1pm, 1pm – 3.30pm

If you’d like more information or to help email Jenny Seymour or ring me on 0422 005 744.

MEDIA RELEASE: August 6, 2014

18.9.11 Anti csg march

Stop CSG Sydney is still to receive a response from Minister for Resources and Energy Anthony Roberts requesting he cancel PEL 463 – the coal seam gas (CSG) licence that covers the Sydney basin.*

Stop CSG Sydney is a community group campaigning against coal seam gas exploration and drilling. It formed to oppose a test drill site in St Peters, discovered by accident at the end of 2011.

Since then, it has organised community petitions, marches, film screenings and motions to council opposing CSG in the inner west and beyond. The new CSG regulations, bought in by the NSW government, prohibit CSG drilling closer than 2 kilometres from urban areas.

When Stop CSG Sydney found out that the licence covering most of Sydney was about to be transferred to UK-based company IGas Energy Plc as part of its buy out of Dart energy, it launched its “Cancel the Licence” campaign.

“We know that IGas Energy has publicly stated it wants to divest all non-UK assets of Dart at a time when it is ‘commercially attractive’ to do so, and ‘with a view to maximising cash returns’”, said Sandra Thompson, spokesperson for Stop CSG Sydney.

“We have confirmed that Dart Energy – which owns PEL 463 via its subsidiary Macquarie Energy – is urging its shareholder to vote in favour of the sale,

“We have also confirmed that IGas received Foreign Investment Review Board approval on July 30 for the sale to take place. That means that the federal government has approved the sale”, Ms Thompson said.

Pip Hinman, another spokesperson, said: “However, we know that the community in urban Sydney doesn’t want CSG. Dart was pressured out of undertaking its test drill in St Peters because of community pressure.

“We have written to the minister, urging him to prevent the sale of PEL 463 to IGas Energy and cancel the licence for good.

“Where’s the logic in allowing the sale to go ahead when communities do not want CSG, the licence covers mainly urban Sydney, and the NSW regulations on CSG prevent drilling from happening?”, asked Ms Hinman.

Media comment:
Sandy Thompson, Stop CSG Sydney President 0403 195 627
Pip Hinman, Stop CSG Sydney, Vice President 0412 139 968

 

* Below is a copy of the letter ?Stop CSG Sydney sent to the Minister.

 

The Hon. Anthony Roberts, MP
Minister for Resources and Energy
Level 37 Governor Macquarie Tower
1 Farrer Place
SYDNEY NSW 2000

office@roberts.minister.nsw.gov.au

Dear Mr Roberts

Transfer of licence Petroleum Export Licence 463

Stop Coal Seam Gas Sydney Inc is a non-partisan group of citizens who are concerned about the rapid expansion of unconventional gas extraction.

We are not anti-mining, but we believe that until the method of extracting coal seam gas has been scientifically assessed and proven to be safe,the industry should not be given licences to frack – in urban or rural NSW.

The pollution and health problems generated from CSG fields in Queensland are cause enough for communities across NSW to be extremely cautious. Until the industry has been proven to be safe for our health, land and water we do not believe it should be given licences for test drilling and more.

As you are aware, the Petroleum Exploration Licence 463 (the licence), currently held by Macquarie Energy Pty Ltd, a fully owned subsidiary of Dart Energy Limited, covers the greater part of the Sydney basin, home to some 4 million people.

On May 9, 2014 Dart Announced that it is in the process of being acquired by the UK-based company IGas Energy Plc, with a clearly stated intention to divest all non-UK assets of Dart. The transfer of Dart’s exploration licences to IGas fails to serve the public interest.

Minister Roberts, as per the petroleum exploration licence conditions relating to PEL 463, your written approval is required prior to ‘any change in the effective control of the licence holder’ or ‘any foreign acquisition of substantial control in the licence holder’.[1]

Stop CSG Sydney strongly urges you to deny approval. This is a valuable opportunity for the NSW Government to align the status of the licence with your current policy on coal seam gas exclusion zones[2]that does not allow coal seam gas drilling within 2 kilometres of residential areas.

Stop CSG Sydney and concerned community members are requesting that you do not allow the transfer of the licence that covers an area of 2.400 square kilometres, covers the City of Sydney and extends from the northern part of Illawarra to the southern Newcastle coalfields.

Further, we ask that you use this opportunity to cancel the licence that was issued without any consultation with the people living under this licence.

Finally, we request a meeting with you to discuss these matters further. Sandra Thompson can be contacted by email at sandrathompson72@gmail.com.au or by phone on 0403 195 627.

Yours faithfully,

Ms Sandra Thompson Ms Pip Hinman
President Vice President

on behalf of Stop CSG Sydney Inc
Please provide an acknowledgment of receipt of this letter.

[1]Clause 45 and 46, Second Schedule Petroleum Exploration Licence Conditions 2012.

[2]Coal seam gas exclusion zones http://www.planning.nsw.gov.au/coal-seam-gas-exclusion-zones