In a legal first, the Gomeroi Nation is using the public interest test, commonly used by fossil fuel companies to fight native title cases, to prevent Santos’ planned gas project in the Pilliga Forest.
If the argument is successful, it would set a precedent for First Nations people to use climate change as a reason to stop fossil fuel projects on Country.
Lines attributable to Greens spokesperson for Resources and Yamatji-Noongar woman Senator Dorinda Cox:
“The Gomeroi people are co-opting the public interest test - using the fossil fuel industry's tricks against them. Hopefully this sets a precedent for future native title cases.
"The Gomeroi people are spiritually linked to the Pilliga Forest. It is their lungs, and one of the most spiritually significant elements of their culture. They shouldn’t have to take an energy giant to court to have their heritage and culture protected.
“This is a classic example of a fossil fuel company ignoring the wishes of Traditional Owners in favour of profits.
“The Gomeroi people have chosen Country over profits, declining substantial financial compensation from Santos, proving you can’t put a price on culture."