Author: Jo Holden

Koala Surveys within PEL 238

KOALA SURVEY WITHIN PEL 238, October/November 2016 and assessment of significance of impact:

Ethical Ecology was engaged by Lock the Gate to undertake a review of data concerning the current status of the koala (Phascolarctos cinereus) within the PEL 238 (Santos), to conduct a survey within the PEL 238 and to undertake an assessment of the significance of impact from the proposed Narrabri Project production field would have on the koala.

Currently, the existing gas infrastructure is restricted to privately held land and state forest, though Pilliga East State Conservation Area is located to the south of the current project area on the eastern side of the Newell Highway and the Pilliga National Park is located to the west of the PEL.

The project area covers a substantial area of known koala habitat and the koala was identified by the Commonwealth as Matter of National Environmental Significance (MNES) affected by the Narrabri Project in their Referral Decision (EPBC 2103/6918). In addition, the Critically Endangered Ecological Community (CEEC) ‘Yellow Box – White Box – Blakely’s Red Gum Woodland and Derived Grassland’, preferred Koala habitat, found in the project area, was also identified as another reason the referral was ‘called in’. Of note is that neither was identified in the Referral by Santos as being MNES affected by their action.

koala survey report_DP_2016_reduced



PILLIGA EAST STATE FOREST KOALA SURVEY Prepared by OWAD Environment for Western Woodlands Alliance

OWAD Environment was engaged by Western Woodlands Alliance (WWA) to conduct a one-day survey of Koala Phascolarctos cinereus in Pilliga East State Forest, New South Wales, using Taz the professional Koala scat detection dog. The purpose of this study was to gain an initial understanding of current presence/absence of Koalas across the areas assessed, based on presence/absence of the marsupial’s characteristic scats (faecal pellets). This report presents the findings of this study.


The Spill

Spill site – just 1

‘The Spill’ by Felicia Marie Dounis

We have to see the spill, they say,

It’s not too far from here.

I gaze around at fertile ground,

Thick forest far and near.

What is the spill?, I ask aloud,

Anticipating the answer;

A broken dam, toxic land,

This forest has a cancer.

Hesitation steals my breath,

Do I want to see this?

A tainted space of chemical waste,

Our forest’s dead abyss.

I don’t refuse the invitation,

Instead, I choose to see,

The devastating consequence,

Of reckless CSG.


We travel through the canopy,

Ancestors, ancient and tall.

This sacred land at the hand of man,

Would surely see their fall.

A moment of silence is required,

For the site that lay before us;

No ancestors here…

They’ve disappeared…

Though spirits linger in the forest.

Their sadness splits and sears my soul,

There are no words to be said.

I scour the Earth for hints of life,

This is a graveyard…

A cemetery…

Everything is dead.

And then fallen ones appear,

Rotten roots laid bare.

I surrender to my tears, and fear,

That Santos is still there.

This is what we’re standing for:

Protection from this plight.

The damage here, so very clear,

This forest is our fight.

We will make our voices heard,

We’ll lock the gates and barricade.

Arm-in-arm, we’ll do no harm,

And we will protest, unafraid.

I have no children of my own,

But when I do, they’ll know,

That the land on which they stand,

Was won from evil foe.

They’ll hear that warriors for water,

United for their sons and daughters.

Men and women of iron wills,

Did not relent because fracking kills.

And then I’ll bring them to this place,

They’ll feel the magic of this space.

And they will know we stopped the drills,

And guaranteed the end of spills.

4am in the Pilliga


Pilliga moonrise

To all who came and all that will I thank you!!

My forest
From the eagle to the snake, a connection flows
The rain falls and the wind blows
The sun shines bright
And oh, the stars in the night
My forest is worth keeping
In my forest children learn
Parents teach and passions burn
Together we stand
Locked hand to hand
For my forest is worth keeping
This forest filters water
Shelters my son, shelters my daughter
As they grow
They will know
Their forest is worth keeping
From these trees and with ease
Knowledge comes
Do not pillage
Do not plunder
Their forest is worth keeping
Days for fighting this crazy pest
Days of laughter and a little rest
All the people stand together
Our forest is worth keeping
Up ahead are the times
No more drilling, no more mines
No more fighting
No more push
For our forest is worth keeping
I’ll remember that day
To my grandkids I’ll say
Great people came and together stood
Risking freedom
Knowing greed from the good
Your forest was worth keeping
Shannon Stone

6th February

Winter Hibernation


A successful Pilliga Push is closing for this round of the long-term campaign against Santos’ 850 well Narrabri CSG proposal for the Pilliga – the very last CSG proposal left in NSW.
Big thanks to every single person who took action, donated, visited camp, liked and shared our posts. A huge thanks to Pilliga Pottery for hosting us on their property. 
We brought state and national attention to this dangerous project. We targeted the construction of Santos’ toxic Leewood CSG wastewater treatment plant and our actions showed that all CSG work in the Pilliga will be peacefully interrupted and effectively delayed. Leewood was scheduled to take three months to construct – it has taken closer to six months, Santos are not yet finished commissioning and have been plagued by problems.
There have been 39 total lock ons and 43 people arrested or charged, multiple fines and many hundreds participated. 
Now construction at Leewood is close to finished the camp will go into winter hibernation. The Pilliga Push camp in its current form is closing down but we’re not going away, just as Santos is not going away. A nearby presence will remain to help locals monitor Santos’ activities and compliance.  Over coming months Santos may go ahead installing an irrigation system to begin its dangerous CSG waste water irrigation experiment at Leewood. 
If there is an appropriate time for action we will put the call out, and we hope you will come – whether that be in one month or twelve. Text 0499 384 557 with your location to be added to the alert list. 
Pilliga Push strengthened the CSG movement in NSW and broadened its commitment to include the precious Pilliga forest. When the time comes for further action we will again show our strength by an immediate response from our diverse and peaceful movement. 

Arrests likely in Narrabri protest targeting Santos on day of AGM – May 4 2016

DSCF8698 web

Two people are locked into a cement lined car blockading Santos near Narrabri

Coincides with protests in Adelaide, Sydney, Brisbane and Newcastle

Supports delegation of farmers and Traditional Owners inside the Adelaide AGM

A local Coonabarabran man and a women from Lismore are risking arrest today by locking into a cement lined car and blockading the Santos Operations Centre near Narrabri to coincide with the company’s 2016 Annual General Meeting.

This year alone there has been approximately 300 protest incidents at Santos’ CSG operations near Narrabri. Peaceful protests at Santos’ Leewood wastewater treatment facility have caused significant delays with construction taking over five months when the original timeline aimed for a two and half month construction schedule.

David Paull is a local landowner and an expert in the ecology of the Pilliga. “I’m locked into a concrete lined car and blockading Santos’ CSG activities to demonstrate our absolute determination to prevent the establishment of the Narrabri Gas Project in the Pilliga.

“On the day of the 2016 Santos AGM we want the new CEO, Kevin Gallagher to know that the North West NSW community and our statewide supporters are determined to continue concerted blockades of any attempts to construct CSG works in this region.

“As an ecologist I know the irreplaceable biodiversity values of the Pilliga better than most. The Pilliga is one of 15 Federally listed biodiversity hotspots and a coal seam gasfield here would directly threaten the survival of at least 10 threatened or endangered species.”

Naomi Tarrant is a 42 year-old women from Lismore and is locked on with David. “I’m risking arrest to show support for the people of North West NSW. There are thousands of people from across our state who support the Traditional Custodians, farmers and residents of this region in their battle to keep it Gasfield Free. No one wants to see these unique lands damaged beyond repair, as has happened in QLD.

“In 2014 international investment analysts Credit Suisse awarded a 50% risk rating to the Narrabri Gas Project and stated its greatest risk was coordinated mass opposition from across NSW. It’s incredible to see this risk played out with locals working with other communities from across NSW to peacefully oppose and significantly delay all CSG works in the North West region.”

David Paull concluded: “Santos has totally written off the Narrabri Gas Project with a $0.00 valuation.  It’s beyond time that Santos reads the writing on the wall, listens to the opposition of the local people and our diverse supporters and abandons this worthless project.”