An outback road safety campaign by Queensland police has been given financial assistance by fossil fuel giant Santos.
Imagine the irony of defending your property from Santos’ fracking, only to discover you are being dragged away by cops who are sponsored by the same company?
Published on October 30, 2014, www.mypolice.qld.gov.au proudly announced the deal, as did Santos on their website.
Private sector police payola is not new; The Australian (News Corp, Murdoch) reported in 2008 that ‘Queensland police cars will carry corporate advertising, in an Australian first for a law-enforcement agency.’
Does this erode public confidence in what is – and should always be – an essential publicly funded service to protect and serve? In Queensland, maintaining law and order while being a corporate shill is the new black.
Does this matter?
Residents from the NSW mid north coast town of Gloucester are locked in a battle to save themselves and their homes from the effects of AGL’s gas exploration drilling in their area.
It’s divided the community; those opposed are concerned their properties have already diminished in value and their water and soil will be compromised. Like here, there are many farms and tourism-based industries in the region.
But on the other hand, we are told it will provide (some) jobs, along with a vague promise of moving NSW towards ‘gas independence’. AGL claims on its website that the Gloucester area has potential to supply more than 15 per cent of NSW’s gas needs – or around one million homes – by 2017–18.
Echo journalist/photographer Eve Jeffery has just been down to Gloucester, and has interviewed locals who are affected.
Resident Ed Robinson says he never would have thought he would be a ‘protester’ and claims AGL has ‘concept approval for 330 gas wells in his neighbourhood.’ Remarkably, he says, gas wells could be within a couple of hundred metres of homes.
‘The rest of NSW has a two-kilometre exclusion zone, but Gloucester hasn’t,’ he says.
With the state’s only functioning gas project being AGL’s Camden wells near Sydney, the pressure is on to expand.
The government says it only provides ‘approximately five per cent of the gas consumed in NSW.’ But a transparent and methodical bridging transition from fossil fuel dependency to renewables has so far not eventuated or even been enunciated.
In fact the state is going backwards, says the Climate Council.