ABOUT 100 residents, some dressed as zombies, are expected to protest at a rally against coal-seam gas drilling near Prospect Reservoir in Blacktown on Saturday, March 9.
Blacktown No CSG group members, their supporters and Greens MLC Jeremy Buckingham will gather in front of the AGL Energy store at StMartin’s Village at 9.30am.
CSG founder Melinda Wilson said the Zombie-a-Frack campaign would welcome more residents to join them in alerting the community claiming that they could become a zombie if the reservoir’s drinking water was contaminated.
She advised them to contact Fred Fuentes, 0412556527 to get involved in the campaign against coal-seam gas mining in western Sydney.
Ms Wilson, who will be dressed as a zombie at the rally, said they should get some fake blood and that a ‘‘seasoned zombie’’ would help with their make-up.
‘‘We’re doing this as we recently received confirmation that CSG drilling is going ahead in Blacktown near Prospect Reservoir in Western Sydney Parklands,’’ Ms Wilson said.
However, a Sydney Catchment Authority spokeswoman denied this, saying there would be no coal-seam gas activities on Sydney Catchment Authority land around Prospect Reservoir.
A spokeswoman said the Western Sydney Parklands Trust had not been approached regarding coal-seam gas exploration in the Parklands.
‘‘The Trust doesn’t expect to be approached in the future as the Parklands are within an urban environment, particularly the Blacktown area of the Parklands,’’ she said.
The Petroleum Exploration Licence is held by Macquarie Energy, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Dart Energy (the operator).
A spokesman for Dart, Andrew Collins, recently told The Sun the licence would let his company explore the Cumberland region for coal-seam gas.
However, he also said his company did not currently have any plan to conduct exploratory drilling near Prospect Reservoir.
Mr Collins said he would know more about this after the completion of a land-use study this year but did not return our calls about this last week.
Premier Barry O’Farrell last week also announced tough new measures to further strengthen the regulation of the coal-seam gas industry in NSW.
He said they included a two-kilometre exclusion zone to be imposed around residential zones to prevent new coal-seam gas exploration, assessment and production activities (both surface and underground).
The Australian Petroleum Production & Exploration Association chief operating officer Eastern Region, Rick Wilkinson, said the decision would have serious ramifications for households and businesses given that NSW brings in 95per cent of its natural gas from interstate.
He said with long-term gas-supply contracts due to expire from next year, the decision creating no-go zones would strangle efforts to safely source natural gas.