Category Archives: News

The Great Inland Glossy Cockatoo Count

Male and female glossy black cockatoos in the trees, Pilliga National Park, 2019. Photo: Tammy Kuijpers © DPIE

Inland glossy black-cockatoos are found in declining numbers in NSW. You can help the National Parks and Wildlife Service conserve this listed vulnerable species by taking part in a glossy count across three national parks in February.

The glossy black-cockatoo is around 46-50cm long and is the smallest of the black-cockatoos. It is a brownish black colour and has a small crest. The male has a browner colour on the head and underparts and bright red panels in the black tail. The female may have yellow markings around the head and has a wider tail which is red to reddish-yellow, barred with black. The glossy black-cockatoo feeds mostly on casuarinas and nests in suitable hollows in both living and dead eucalyptus trees.

Volunteer for this coordinated count of the inland glossy. Book online by the Wednesday prior to the counts at:

Pilliga Forest, Pilliga National Park: Saturday 13 February 2021
Goonoo National Park: Saturday 20 February 2021
Goobang National Park: Saturday 27 February 2021

You can choose to volunteer at one or multiple sites. Bring a pair of binoculars and a notepad. You’ll be trained on the day on how to use your binoculars, and about bird ID and methods.

Northwest Renewable Energy Precinct Underway

The creation of a community backed Northwest Renewable Energy Precinct is underway in NSW. In December 2020 arrays of solar panels with battery storage were installed on five homes.

When connected up to Geni Energy’s Virtual Power Plant (VPP), these homes will provide power to others when and where it is needed most.

Geni Energy is working towards having 100 local homeowners connected to their VPP. Most of these families already have rooftop solar, however, a lot of their usage is at night when they buy electricity from the grid – that costs them three times the price they receive from putting their excess solar power into the grid during the day. Once batteries are installed, their excess solar power will go into the battery so they can access free electricity at night. This will allow most of these homes to pay off their battery within 3 to 7 years.

Then, these homes and other renewable generators will be connected to Geni Energy’s VPP. Technology will allow their excess power to be sold through the VPP platform to the community.

The latest five new installations was a big step in the journey toward switching on the Geni Energy Virtual Power Plant.

Call into the Geni Energy office at 129 Maitland Street, Narrabri and talk to the friendly staff about this renewable energy project in the heart of a gasfield.

Appeal Launched Against Santos’ Narrabri Gas Project

A community group, the Mullaley Gas and Pipeline Accord (MGPA), has launched an appeal against the NSW Independent Planning Commission’s (IPC’s) approval of the controversial Narrabri Gas Project.

The 25-year Project would contribute greenhouse gas emissions in the order of 127 million tonnes (CO2 equivalent), at a time when the science says there is an urgent need for rapid emissions reductions.

Class 4 Judicial Review proceedings have now been lodged in the NSW Land and Environment Court by the MGPA, represented by Environmental Defenders Office (EDO). Continue reading

Gamil Means No

Hundreds of people gathered in Canberra, Melbourne, Sydney and Brisbane to support the young warriors of the Gomeroi/Gamilaroi/Kamilaroi/Gamilaraay Nation determined to fight for their rights and for future generations.

They strongly oppose Santos’s $3.6bn gas project in Narrabri and The Pilliga in western New South Wales, which they say will devastate Gamilaraay Gomeroi cultural ties to sacred and significant heritage sites.

https://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/2020/dec/03/hundreds-rally-in-australian-capital-cities-against-the-36bn-narrabri-gas-project 

During summer check for forest closures

The Pilliga Forest is a combination of National Parks, Conservation Areas and State Forests. The National Parks & Wildlife Service manage the National Parks and Conservation Areas and Forestry Corporation manages the Pilliga State Forests.

During summer all these areas may be closed if dangerous fire conditions persist. These closures will include the Pilliga forest visitor areas and campgrounds as well as the Warrumbungle National Park’s walking tracks, trails and remote campgrounds. Up to date information is available on the National Parks website under current alerts.

Forestry Corporation list of state forest closures

A fire ban is in place in the Pilliga National Park until 31 March 2021 unless otherwise extended or removed.

ICAC 15 recommendations to improve NSW water management

Friday 27 November 2020

The NSW Independent Commission Against Corruption (ICAC) has made 15 recommendations to the NSW Government to improve the management of the state’s water resources, after a repeated tendency to adopt an approach that was unduly focused on the interests of the irrigation industry.

The ICAC examined multiple allegations, over almost a decade, in two related investigations concerning complaints of corruption involving the management of water, particularly in the Barwon-Darling area of the Murray-Darling Basin. Ultimately the Commission was not satisfied in relation to any of the matters it investigated that the evidence established that any person had engaged in corrupt conduct for the purposes of the Independent Commission Against Corruption Act 1988.

However, it did form an opinion that in many of the matters it investigated the evidence established that certain decisions and approaches taken by the NSW Government department with responsibility for water management over the last decade were inconsistent with the object, principles and duties of the Water Management Act 2000 (WMA) and failed to give effect to legislated priorities for water sharing.

The report notes that at a policy level, the investigation found that the development and implementation of the 2012 Barwon-Darling Water Sharing Plan represented a failure to adhere to the priorities set out in the WMA.

Specific failures in the administrative arrangements concerning water regulation and compliance also created an atmosphere that was overly favourable to irrigators. This was largely due to chronic underfunding, organisational dysfunction and a lack of commitment to compliance.

More generally, the irrigator focus of the Department of Primary Industries – Water (DPI-W) was entrenched in its approach towards stakeholder consultation, which focused on the irrigation industry, while restricting information available to other stakeholders, such as environmental agencies. As a result, the policy-making process became vulnerable to improper favouritism, as environmental perspectives were sidelined from policy discussions.

The Commission has made 15 recommendations to address these issues and to promote the integrity and good repute of public administration in relation to water management.

Excerpt from ICAC media release https://www.icac.nsw.gov.au/media-centre/media-releases/2020-media-releases/icac-recommends-changes-to-government-water-management-in-nsw-after-years-of-focus-on-irrigation-industry-interests

Federal Approval for Narrabri Gas

As expected, the Federal Government has approved the Narrabri Gas Project subject to a number of conditions.

Minister for the Environment Sussan Ley approved the project under the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999.

Approval conditions to protect water resources include: 

  • An early-warning system that includes ongoing bore-monitoring and modelling to identify any potential impacts on groundwater aquifers before they occur.
  • Binding protocols identifying corrective actions, and cease-work provisions at gas wells where a groundwater exceedance is predicted.
  • A robust chemical risk assessment framework to protect the environment and water resources during coal seam gas operations (no fracking is required or proposed for gas extraction).
  • Santos will also establish a Community Benefit Fund of up to $120 million to share the ongoing benefit of the project with the Narrabri community. 

Details of the approval are available on the department website at: http://epbcnotices.environment.gov.au/_entity/annotation/b4110561-152e-eb11-82c9-00505684324c/a71d58ad-4cba-48b6-8dab-f3091fc31cd5?t=1606195949773

Fire in the Gas Fields

A bushfire in the Pilliga Forest has been brought under control. It burnt an area of 97 hectares between X Line Road and Blue Nobby Road close to gas infrastructure. Another smaller fire in the Pilliga West State Conservation Area is being controlled.

Meanwhile the NSW government considers setting up a special gas zone in northern NSW and may release more areas for exploration to increase supplies in the state and spur job creation, according to Peter Hannam in the Sydney Morning Herald

Before travelling into the forest download:
Fires Near Me App 
Or ArcGIS NSW Fire Map 
Check the weather forecast including wind and direction
Check Pilliga National Park – current alerts 

Part of the Pilliga forest is closed to the public until 31 December for Santos to do workover operations – maintenance work. Santos could also be drilling the 2 wells they have approval for under their exploration licence.

Switch for Narrabri

When you visit Narrabri take your electricity bill with you and call into Geni.Energy’s shop at 129 Maitland Street.

If you “Switch For Narrabri” you will:

  • Directly support Geni.Energy – a community-led renewable energy company based in Narrabri, to create renewables right in the heart of the proposed gas fields.
  • Buy your electricity from Enova Energy – Australia’s first community-owned energy provider. Enova is committed to a 100% renewable energy future.

Furthermore, if you are an EnergyAustralia account holder, switching away will show your opposition to its 20% shareholding in the Narrabri Gas project.

Switching your retail energy through Geni.Energy to Enova Energy is quick and easy for anyone living in NSW. For every new customer who “Switches For Narrabri” online or over the phone – and quotes NARRABRI50 – Enova Energy will provide $50 to Geni.Energy on your behalf to support their community energy initiatives.

Switching through Geni.Energy to Enova Energy is the easiest and best step that you and your family and friends can take, right now, to ensure that renewables eclipse the Narrabri Gas Project, before it’s even built.

For more information see: geni.energy/switch-for-narrabri

Or call into office:
Monday – Friday 9:00 – 16.00
Saturday 9:00 – 12:00
1/129 Maitland St, Narrabri NSW 2390
Ph: 02 5700 3290