It may be a small area in terms of population but the residents of the villages of Tintenbar, Knockrow, Fernleigh, Newrybar, Brooklet, Nashua, Pearces Creek and surrounding localities drew the mayors of three shires to their CSG-free declaration day yesterday.
The crowd of 150 at Tintenbar Oval represented more than 1,000 people on 63 roads of the three shires, who voted overwhelmingly to reject coal-seam gas on their land, with an incredible 96.8 per cent of people interviewed saying they supported the region staying CSG free.
Ballina mayor David Wright said councils were limited in what they could do to oppose the expansion of the industry and were reliant on events like this to show opposition.
Lismore mayor Jenny Dowell said while just two of the roads declared yesterday were in her local government area the declarations would go back to join more than 300 in her office from Lismore roads already declared.
Cr Dowell also used the opportunity to announce that the Northern Region Organisation of Councils (NOROC) on Friday decided to contribute $15,000 to Southern Cross University’s baseline groundwater studies around the region.
Byron mayor Simon Richardson said he was thrilled to see more of his constituents joining the movement and looked forward to more such events in the shire.
Local doctor Michael Douglas read his poem, The White Dove Flies, which talked about the destruction of the natural environment by CSG. The crowd waved white flags and 10 white doves were released during the reading.
CSG Free Northern Rivers co-ordinator Annie Kia spoke about her recent trip to Wandoan, Qld, which she described as ‘busy with people in orange fluoro vests – none of them locals’.
She said the town was becoming an industrialised landscape and residents were selling their homes to the mining industry to escape it, leaving huge holes in the community infrastructure.
‘It’s like a dying animal whose body is alive with maggots,’ she told the group. ‘Soon it will be stripped to the bone.’
She also said the CSG Free Communities model developed in the northern rivers was now being adopted across the country and around the world.