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Byron Shire
May 8, 2021

Locals object to Land Council prospecting licence

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The CEO of the Arakwal Aboriginal Corporation and Byron Shire Council are among those objecting to the petroleum exploration licence issued to the NSW Aboriginal Land Council (NSWALC) over much of Tweed and Byron shires.

NSWALC CEO Geoff Scott said that the decision to invest in mining was to ‘end Aboriginal poverty’ and to ‘take an active role to become part of the real Australian economy’. He added that ‘ending the cycle of generational poverty is very expensive’.

‘It is a paradigm shift. It’s about our having a seat at the table, rather than waiting for the crumbs. Of course NSWALC has concerns about the environmental impacts of mining. That’s why we intend to approach these issues from an Aboriginal perspective, and as an organisation that has an established track record of preserving the environmental and cultural sensitivities of our land.’

But CEO of the Arakwal Aboriginal Corporation, Yvonne Stewart, told Echonetdaily she was aware of the claim and is concerned, as she doesn’t want CSG mining in the region.

‘We have little input from the ALC – we were not notified by them about this,’ she told Echonetdaily. She said there are two separate issues here: native title services and prospecting claims.

Extraordinary meeting

Byron Council held an extraordinary meeting on Thursday at which it was decided to make an opposing submission to the NSW department of resources.

Byron councillor Rose Wanchap says that under Resolution 12-826, Council opposes CSG operations in the Shire. ‘There is no social licence…

‘Now is the time to get very vocal in your opposition to the granting of this application,’ she said.

Both local state MPs, Nationals Don Page (Ballina) and Geoff Provest (Tweed), were asked by Echonetdaily if they supported Byron Council’s rejection of NSWALC’s prospecting application but did not reply before deadline.

CSG laws ‘farcical’: NSW Farmers

Adding to the state government’s mining backlash is a statement from the NSW Farmers this week, who have labelled the state government’s attempts to protect agricultural land from the mining and coal-seam gas industries as ‘farcical’.

NSW Farmers CEO Matt Brand said, ‘The O’Farrell government promised to protect agricultural land and water, but has shied away from delivering a framework that will deliver any certainty for farmers or future generations.’

He has renewed his call for government to reconsider its decision to capitulate to the mining and gas industry on land-use planning. ‘The association is calling on consumers who want a sustainable future for food and fibre production in NSW to have their say through the Department of Planning’s website and by contacting their local member of parliament.’

Those interested in making comments on this application are encouraged to review the department’s public comment process document which is at resources.nsw.gov.au or by contacting NSW Trade and Investment staff on 02 4931 6512.

Letters may also be sent to Coal & Petroleum Titles, Industry & Investment NSW, PO Box 344, Hunter Region Mail Centre, NSW 2310. Objections must be lodged by December 5.

The Aboriginal Land Council can also be contacted via alc.org.au.

A meeting, hosted by Gasfield Free Mullumbimby, is planned for the Byron Shire Council Chambers in Mullumbimby on Wednesday November 28 at 6pm.


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