Fracking fears

Feature of the future: These drills could become a familiar site under new "state significant" planning rules.
Feature of the future: These drills could become a familiar site under new "state significant" planning rules.

FRACKING could expand into suburban Sydney under new state significant development planning rules that will allow gas company AGL to drill up to 66 coal seam gas wells in Liverpool and Campbelltown.

Hydraulic fracturing, or "fracking", is the process of drilling and injecting fluid into the ground at a high pressure in order to fracture coal rocks to release natural gas inside.

AGL wants clusters of six wells each at 11 sites between Liverpool and Campbelltown, many of them within a few hundred metres of suburban streets in Currans Hill and Denham Court.

The plan is opposed by some residents, but the company wants to fast track the project as a state significant development.

This means that public hearings into the project will be held, but once a decision is made it cannot be challenged in the Land and Environment Court.

The Planning Department's acting director-general, Richard Pearson, said in a statement that the assessment process would be "rigorous and transparent" and involve the public.

"The PAC public hearings will also allow local residents and others to put their views directly and in person to the independent reviewers," he said.

Liverpool mayor Ned Mannoun said the council would oppose the expansion of the coal seam gas project and was currently preparing a submission to the Department of Planning and Infrastructure to oppose the plans.

"Council has not been consulted by the relevant governing bodies on this project and has been left in the dark on the extent of the proposed expansion which borders the Liverpool local government area," he said.

"We were not consulted when the project was first exhibited in 2010 and again the plans have gone on exhibition without proper consultation.

"Council will be advocating on behalf of our community to oppose this project."

Further information on the project and how to make a submission can be found on the Department of Planning and Infrastructure website:

Search for: On Exhibition - Camden Gas Project Stage 3 Northern Expansion.


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