Social Justice & Action
NSWNMA stands with Gomeroi people in their fight against proposed coal seam gas project
NSWNMA members travelled to Coonabarabran to stand with the Gomeroi people of the Kamilaroi nation in their fight against mining and gas magnate Santos’ proposal to build 850 coal seam gas wells on Gomeroi lands in the Pillaga forest.
Santos lodged a ’future acts application’ with to the Native Title Tribunal, which seeks to override Gomeroi peoples’ Native Title rights. Local activists have described the move by Santos as an attempt to “force the Gomeroi into an agreement or impose the project regardless.”
Joined by other union activists from the NSW Teacher’s Federation, Australian Manufacturing Worker’s Union, Independent Education Union, National Tertiary Education Union, United Workers Union, Electrical Trades Union, Unions NSW, CFMEU and t Maritime Union of Australia, nurses and midwives stood in solidarity with the Gomeroi people in their fight against Santos’ strong arm tactics.
Santos’ proposal is currently supported by both the NSW and Commonwealth Government but is strongly opposed by the traditional custodians of the land: the Gomeroi people.
NSWNMA member and Gomeroi woman Narelle Andrews voiced concern that should the project be greenlit, it would cause irrevocable environmental damage to the Gomeroi lands and waterways.
“I am very concerned about the impact these proposed coal seam gas projects will have on our natural water and food supplies.”
“In Aboriginal communities, Aboriginal people need to stay connected to land, where we still hunt, educate and tell stories to our younger generations. It’s important to be part of a movement like this that is about protecting our water, food supplies and beautiful country. And protect our flora and our wildlife.”
Narelle thanked union members for travelling to Coonabarabran to see the real-life devastation caused by the Narrabri mining project and for standing with Gomeroi people in opposition to the project.
“The delegates’ support by coming to our communities and seeing firsthand the effects of the gas mines was overwhelming. I felt honoured and thankful that so many delegates attended.”
Damien Davis Frank, NSWNMA Branch Secretary at St Vincent’s who travelled to Coonbarabran as part of the delegation voiced NSWNMA support for the Gomeroi people’s fight against Santos.
“The NSWNMA stands proudly beside the Gomeroi people to help defend the health of this land. Health of country equals health of the people and as a nurse it is our duty to advocate for the health of our planet so that future generations can have clean water and clean air.
“I am proud that the NSWNMA has voted to support the Gomeroi people and is committing to being on the ground, making sure this climate and health bomb doesn’t go ahead.”
If approved, the Santos project will contribute an estimated 127 million tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions, destroying precious local ecologies and, polluting the Great Artesian Basin waterways, which are crucial for sustaining the community and local fauna.