Hunter Gas Pipeline threatens culture, koalas and cropping

A report commissioned by Lock the Gate Alliance reveals the destruction the Hunter Gas Pipeline (HGP) will cause if the 620km-long NSW section is built.

The pipeline was first approved a decade ago to transport gas from Wallumbilla in Queensland to Newcastle. The proponent has indicated that it may also be used to transport coal seam gas from the planned Narrabri Gas Project.

The Cessoils report, which only focused on the NSW section, reveals that the HGP 200m wide corridor, of which 30m will be cleared, extends across:

  • 31 recorded Aboriginal cultural heritage sites
  • 4,446 hectares of Biophysical Strategic Agricultural Land (the top 3.5% of farming soils in the state)
  • 2,721 hectares of erosional soils
  • 1,014 hectares of high quality habitat and three Areas of Regional Koala Significance, including the very important population around Gunnedah.

There are also 2,467 recorded sightings of koalas within a 10km radius of the pipeline corridor.

Lock the Gate Alliance NSW spokesperson Georgina Woods said it was worrying that the approvals for the pipeline were now well out of date and yet the proponent was seeking public funds from the Morrison Government to help build the project.

“This pipeline never underwent full scrutiny under Federal Environment laws,” she said. “There was no Environmental Impact Statement done 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.

“A damaging project like this should absolutely not be boosted with public money from the Federal Government.”

Retired soil scientist Ian Daniells, who has significant experience working in the region, said the farming land of the Liverpool Plains was among the best in the world, and a gas pipeline could pose a serious threat to its productivity.

After reviewing the report, Associate Professor Mathew Crowther from the University of Sydney, advised that “The pipeline basically goes right through the ARKS [Areas of Regional Koala Significance] (based on koala records), and clearing could have a massive effect on the koala population here, especially as they depend on larger trees (for food and shelter) in this fragmented habitat”.

Lock the Gate Media Release