Australia’s top scientist to advise government on Narrabri CSG project

EIGHT leading experts will give the NSW government their independent assessment of the proposed Narrabri coal seam gas project.

The government said given the high level of community interest, it felt it was important to seek independent advice from some of “Australia’s top scientists”.

The experts will provide advice on economic impacts, land-use safety hazards and risks, cultural heritage and social impacts.

Resource assessments director Mike Young said a four-member Water Expert Panel, to be chaired by Professor Peter Cook from the University of Melbourne, would advise on water-related impacts.

They will also consider issues raised in submissions made by the community, including expert reviews undertaken by, or on behalf of, special interest groups.

“This builds on the work done by the NSW Chief Scientist and Engineer in her review of coal seam gas activities in 2014, with some of the same experts now providing advice on the Narrabri Gas Project,” Mr Young said.

“It is clear from the submissions that farmers and the broader community are particularly concerned about the potential impacts of the project on groundwater resources, including the Great Artesian Basin.

“The department has set up the Water Expert Panel to examine these concerns in detail, and the members of the panel will be meeting local landowners and special interest groups during August to ensure they understand the concerns being raised.”

Mr Young said that the department will also be considering detailed advice from a range of government experts within the Department of Primary Industries, the Environment Protection Authority, and the Office of Environment and Heritage.