Farmer Neil Kennedy challenges fine for Santos coal seam gas protest in court

PASSIONATE CAUSE: Neil Kennedy and his supporters protesting in February. Photo: Andrew Stevenson

PASSIONATE CAUSE: Neil Kennedy and his supporters protesting in February. Photo: Andrew Stevenson

A 74-year-old, sixth generation farmer faced Narrabri court on Tuesday, over his involvement in a protest against Santos’ coal seam gas development in March.

Mr Kennedy was fined $350 for enter inclosed lands at the company’s Leewood site, but successfully contested the charge and will have no conviction recorded.

While Mr Kennedy was delighted the charge was dropped, he’s disappointed he had to protest in the first place. “We’ve been pressing the politicians for years to do something about CSG, and we’ve been driven to do this because no one will listen to us,” Mr Kennedy told The Leader.

“At my age, to be driven to this is ridiculous, but there was no alternative. I am a law abiding, hard working, tax paying citizen, with an unblemished record. I have 13 grandchildren and fear terribly for their future. If we lose our groundwater we’d have to walk off our land.”

Santos has begun minor works at the Leewood site, adding more drainage points along the top of the pond banks to improve storm water drainage. The work is expected to take three weeks.

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