#GamilMeansNo: Hundreds rally in Indigenous-led protests against controversial Narrabri gas project

The rallies come after the Morrison government approved the $3.6 billion coal seam project last month.

Anti-fracking activists take part in Indigenous led protests in Sydney against Santos' new Narrabri gas project

Demonstrators take part in Indigenous-led protests in Sydney against Santos' new Narrabri gas project Source: Twitter/@Hocking_Rachael

Hundreds of people have rallied in capital cities across Australia’s east as part of Indigenous-led anti-fracking protests against a $3.6 billion coal seam project in northwest NSW.

Oil and gas giant Santos was given federal government approval last month to build its controversial project in Narrabri, prompting anger from environmentalists and Traditional Owners.

The project involves drilling 850 new gas wells over 20 years, leaving concerned local Gomeroi fearing the destruction of sacred sites and greater threats to wildlife and biodiversity.

On Thursday, hundreds of supporters of the Gamil Means No movement rallied in Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane and Canberra.

Material posted to social media showed hundreds rallying in Sydney, where protesters chanted while marching from Martin Place through the CBD.

At least several dozen gathered on Melbourne’s Spring Street and at Brisbane's Santos Place. Dozens also gathered outside Parliament House in Canberra.

The Gamilaraay Next Generation activist group want Santos to “frack off”, cultural heritage laws amended, for governments to meet with Gomeroi people to “undergo proper consultation” and for the NSW Mining Act of 1992 to be abolished.

Federal Environment Minister Sussan Ley said her decision to approve the Santos project was based on the Commonwealth's expert science committee on coal seam gas.

Dozens protest outside Parliament House in Canberra

"I am satisfied that the conditions, and the staged nature of work in the area, will safeguard the biodiversity of the Pilliga Forest," she said at the time of her announcement.

Resources Minister Keith Pitt said Santos had linked 200 jobs directly to the project with a further 1,300 roles in the construction phase. 

The protests came on the same day Australia's plans for a gas-led economic recovery from COVID-19 were criticised in a new report as "digging up our country's past to spite our future". 

The report, released Thursday by the Climate Council, said the emissions produced by Australia's gas sector weren't properly being accounted for. 

With AAP.

Published 3 December 2020 at 7:54pm
By SBS News