Tweed and Northern Rivers residents against coal-seam gas (CSG) mining have been urged to complain to their local federal MPs over the revelation this week that federal police are spying on groups and individuals protesting against CSG.
On Tuesday, federal government minister Joe Ludwig told Greens senator Christine Milne that the surveillance of the climate activists and CSG protesters was in line with government guidelines.
Tweed representative on the national Lock the Gate Alliance against CSG, Michael McNamara, has called on Page MP Janelle Saffin and Richmond MP Justine Elliot to ‘take a stand against this intimidatory tactic’.
Mr McNamara said local campaign groups in the Northern Rivers and elsewhere ‘grew out of a sense of frustration by ordinary community members with the way that government and mining companies were pushing them and their concerns aside in a mad rush to develop the coal-seam gas industry’.
‘You only have to look at the footage of the more than 3,000 people who marched through the streets of Murwillumbah in May last year to protest the rapid expansion of the coal-seam gas industry to see that the movement is truly representative of the broader community.
‘It says something about the government that they find cane farmers, small business operators, professional people, dairy farmers and tradespeople so threatening.
‘What next, will they be tapping the phones of Tweed council or Rous Water or Norco, organisations that have opposed CSG, especially fracking?
‘In the Northern Rivers we have managed to chase one company away through strong community action against coal-seam gas. Macquarie Energy announced late last year that it was walking away from its application for a Petroleum Exploration Licence (PEL) in the Tweed.’
Mr McNamara invited people wanting to fight against coal-seam gas mining in the Tweed to join him at a campaign workshop to plan future actions, to be held at the Murwillumbah Services Club at 1pm this Sunday 12 February.
Mr McNamara also encouraged community members who share his concerns about the involvement of the federal police to contact their local federal MPs to express their outrage.