As new laws are proposed in New South Wales Parliament today to increase penalties and Police powers over coal seam gas protesters, Santos reports a fresh spate of damage at its Narrabri coal seam gas (CSG) project in the Pilliga forest.
According to Santos, more than $75,000 worth of equipment was damaged or stolen from its fenced-off sites – including solar panels, batteries, solar regulators and security cameras. The damage was reported to police.
Australian Petroleum Production and Exploration Association (APPEA) said the apparent vandalism of CSG equipment highlighted the need for the new laws proposed by NSW Resources Minister Anthony Roberts.
Tampering with CSG sites puts safety at risk and could damage to the surrounding environment, APPEA said.
“Protesters have nothing to fear from proposed new penalties if they abide by the law,” APPEA chief executive Malcolm Roberts said.
“Illegal acts that place health, safety and the environment at risk are deplorable. We respect the rights of people to peacefully protest, but there is no justification for trespassing, vandalising equipment and harassing people for doing their jobs.”
The Wilderness Society said it does not support damage to private property.