A proposal approved back to 2009, to build a 833 kilometre gas pipeline from Queensland to Newcastle through the Hunter Valley has been described as posing a serious risk to highly erodible soils, cultural heritage, and to koala habitat.
In a report prepared by Consulting & Environmental Services for Lock the Gate Alliance serious concerns are raised about the pipeline and its impact for landholders and their farming activity along its route.
The Pipeline project proposed by Hunter Gas Pipeline Pty Ltd would involve construction of a high-pressure gas pipeline from Wallumbilla, Queensland, to Newcastle. It was stated in the Environmental Assessment that the Pipeline was necessary to deliver increased competition and security of gas supply to support regional development in NSW. In the report its says the Pipeline was assessed as a State Significant Project and approved by the NSW Department of Planning on February 11, 2009, with a ten-year timeframe to commence construction. Construction did not begin within 10 years and on October 17, 2019 the proponent was granted a modified lapse date of the October, 15 2024 (Mod 1 Approval).
The 833km Pipeline corridor includes 620km within NSW, crossing ten Local Government Areas (LGA): Moree Plains, Narrabri, Gunnedah, Liverpool Plains, Upper Hunter, Muswellbrook, Singleton, Maitland, Port Stephens, and Newcastle.
Lock the Gate Alliance NSW spokesperson Georgina Woods said "this pipeline never underwent full scrutiny under Federal Environment laws," she said.
"There was no Environmental Impact Statement done under Federal environment laws to assess impacts on nationally threatened species.
"Yet this pipeline represents a massive risk to highly erodible soils, to cultural heritage, and to species like the Koala, which suffered massive habitat loss during the 2019/20 bushfires.
"This is not your average suburban gas pipeline - it will require a massive trench to be dug across 620km in NSW. When similar gas pipelines were built in QLD, cattle were lost after falling into the huge ditch.
"The Hunter Gas Pipeline will have a destructive impact on cultural values, farms, and wildlife habitat. A damaging project like this should absolutely not be boosted with public money from the Federal Government."