Farmers and residents from Gloucester on the mid north coast, under siege from coal-seam gas (CSG) exploration, will be joined by campaigners from Lock the Gate and GetUp! in Lismore and Mullumbimby tomorrow and Saturday to update northern rivers locals on the ongoing fight against the controversial industry.
Last week mining giant AGL announced it would sell back three of its CSG licences in to the NSW government, an that it would write-down $193 milllion in the value of its Gloucester gas project.
The further delay to the company’s final investment decision for CSG at Gloucester was welcomed by communities there no longer under active licences.
But campaigners say that for the people of Gloucester, it’s not over yet as they are still living with the daily reality of pilot production wells on their doorstep and ongoing uncertainty about the future of the project that could ruin their valley.
The information sessions in the northern rivers, called ‘What the Frack Happened at Gloucester?’, will be held at the Mullumbimby Civic Hall tomorrow, Friday, 17 July, at 6.30pm and at the Italo Club in Lismore on Saturday at 6.30pm.
Residents from Gloucester will give updates on what’s happening across NSW and what people in the northern rivers region can do to help.
Gloucester beef cattle farmer Ed Robinson said northern rivers locals had been ‘a great support to us’.
‘Our community is very small and we are up against a large company,’ Mr Robinson said.
‘We’re in a difficult situation, the rules the government has put in place for everywhere else in NSW don’t apply to us because the Waukivory gas project was already underway when they made them,’ he said.
‘If this project goes ahead in our valley, people in our community may have to live with wells only 200 metres from their homes,’ he said.
Elly Bird, regional coordinator for Gasfield Free Northern Rivers said another speaker, Dan Robbins, has been working with communities in Camden, where AGL operate the largest producing gasfield in NSW.
‘Dan has been documenting a worrying pattern of health symptoms, some people there are living only 45 metres from gas wells,’ Ms Bird said.
‘We’ll also give an update on what’s happening here in the northern rivers, our fight isn’t over yet and there’s plenty people can do to help,’ she said.
‘There are some really simple things people can do that can make a difference, including switching their power away from power companies, like AGL, that invest in CSG.’
Other speakers include Gloucester valley resident Nicky Coombes, GetUp! Better Power project manager Lily Dempster, and Lock the Gate’s Western Sydney coordinator Dan Robbins.