From seismic testing proposals to black sludge polluting a Sydney creek, here’s the environmental news you may have missed this week.

1. A Sydney Creek Has Turned to Black Sludge

A polluted creek in southern Sydney has forced the NSW government’s plan to reintroduce platypus to the Royal National Park to be put on hold

Last week, Wild Magazine Editor, James McCormack alerted the NSW Environmental Protection Agency to black sludge that was polluting Camp Gully Creek, a tributary of the Hacking River which flows through the national park.  

The EPA has since investigated the nearby Metropolitan mine at Helensburgh, owned by Peabody Energy. It’s the third time this year this particular mine has been investigated for an incident involving coal pollution.

The state government’s plan to introduce platypus to the Hacking River downstream has been put on hold until 2023. 

How, when, and who will lead the clean-up of Camp Gully Creek is still to be determined.

2. Traditional Owner’s Argue Gas Project is Not in the Public Interest

In NSW’s north-west, the Gomeroi people are changing tactics in their ten-year battle against the Narrabri Gas Project.

Fossil fuel giant, Santos, has state and federal approval to create a new coal seam gas field near Narrabri which would require the clearing of 1,000 hectares of land and impact the culturally significant Pilliga Forest


Pilliga Forest is Where Nature and Culture Collide, Amy Fairall, forest, view, sunrise


The Gomeroi people currently have a native title claim over the area, which means in order for Santos to proceed with the project, the Traditional Owners must give their consent – which they haven’t. 

The matter is currently in the Federal Court and the Gomeroi people have recently argued that, despite the project potentially meeting half of NSW’s gas needs, the Narrabri Gas Project is not in the public interest as the greenhouse gases released will contribute to climate change and its damaging effects to human beings. 

This is the first time in Australia the public interest argument has been coopted on the grounds of climate change, which, if the court rules in favour of the Gomeroi people and their native title claim, could set a crucial precedent for the future of fighting against fossil fuel projects. 

3. Kimberley Coast Marine Parks Could be Opened Up for Seismic Testing

Over in Western Australia, the federal government is considering opening up thousands of square kilometres of ocean off the Kimberley Coast for seismic testing, to search for pockets of offshore oil and gas. 

The project plan estimates the possible environment that could be affected by the seismic testing to include multiple marine parks, namely the pristine Mermaid Reef Marine Park and Rowley Shoals Marine Park. 



The three separate reefs that make up the parks are considered to be ‘exceptionally rich and diverse’ in marine reef fauna, with 184 species of corals and 389 species of finfish identified in the area by the Western Australian Museum. 

The marine life found in the wider testing area includes a long list of species, including Humpback whales, Dugongs, Whale sharks, Spotted bottlenose dolphins, Green turtles, and Giant manta rays. 

Curiously it comes just a month after the WA Government announced the protection of an additional 600,000 hectares of Kimberley coastline across three new marine parks.

Ultimately, seismic testing is the regular and consistent blasting of the seafloor with high-powered airguns to detect certain sound patterns that indicate where oil and gas may be found underground. 

Not only does it disturb marine life, much of which relies on sound vibrations in the ocean to navigate and communicate, but if oil or gas is detected it could mean that area will be open to offshore drilling.

The project plan is currently open for public comment until October 12th, so if you’ve got something to say about seismic testing off WA’s Kimberley Coast, tell the government about it!