A human chain was formed at Bar Beach on Thursday afternoon to reflect community opposition to a proposed gas exploration project off the Hunter coast.
The current Petroleum Exploration Permit 11 (PEP11) needed for the project, which extends between Manly and Port Stephens, will expire on Friday.
Federal resources Minister Keith Pitt will determine an application by Advent Energy to extend the licence for another five years.
He has not indicated when this will occur.
Mr Pitt has previously argued offshore gas could play a key part in the federal government's gas-fired recovery strategy.
But the project faces increasing community opposition with Labor, Liberal and Independent MPs whose electorates cover the project's 4500 square kilometre footprint publicly opposing the project.
Newcastle Wilderness Society member Eleanor Lawless said there was a growing awareness about the project's potential environmental impacts.
"In support of our precious and diverse marine ecosystems, our beautiful beaches and our regions tourism and fishing industries we are standing against the proposed offshore gasfield in the PEP11 zone," she said.
"The coastline of Newcastle and surrounds could be dotted with risky and destructive gas rigs, harming marine ecosystems and fuelling climate change, if we don't push back against exploration and development in our coastal waters"
Opposition leader Anthony Albanese has committed Labor to doing everything possible to stop the project.
"This is a project that will impact our coast from Sydney to the Central Coast to Newcastle and Port Stephens," he said at Terrigal last week.
"The idea that you would have exploration for oil and gas off this coast is a disaster even if things go as well as they possibly could. But if they don't it could be catastrophic."
PEP 11 was issued under Commonwealth legislation because the exploration area is in Commonwealth waters.
However, the state government is required to make a recommendation on the project as part of the Commonwealth's assessment.
Mr Barilaro, who is also NSW Minister for Industry and Trade, told the Newcastle Herald that the state government's position had not changed since it declared it would not support applications to extend the life of PEP 11 in 2017.
"I recently met with Keith Pitt and made it very clear that the NSW Government does not support this project. There is no upside to it," Mr Barilaro said.
In an unprecedented move, MPs lined up in federal parliament late last year to oppose the project.