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Byron Shire
May 10, 2021

Protesters not threatened by council’s tough talk

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The Bungabee Road entrance to Metgasco's E101 test drilling site at Bentley. Photo Marie Cameron
The Bungabee Road entrance to Metgasco’s E101 test drilling site at Bentley. Photo Marie Cameron

Chris Dobney

Members of Gasfield Free Northern Rivers say they are not fazed by calls from Richmond Valley Council (RVC) for them not to block roads during Metgasco’s planned gas testing at Bentley next month.

Council’s general manager John Walker said RVC had put together a comprehensive traffic management plan for the two-to-four weeks of preparation and expected six weeks of drilling the company will require.

‘From a community point of view we are really concerned that the protesters will ignore all of the warnings and all of the safety advice and invade the road with vehicles or their own bodies, and that could well block traffic and disrupt traffic entirely,’ Mr Walker told ABC radio this morning.

But Gasfield Free Northern Rivers spokesperson Adam Guise told Echonetdaily it was Metgasco’s vehicles that would be causing danger on the roads, not protesters.

‘We’ve got a good working relationship with Richmond Valley Council: we submitted a primitive camping application, which has been approved, and we are working with council to ensure road safety and uphold people’s right to peaceful protest,’ he said this morning.

‘Numerous members of the community have made representations to council to make sure they put in place adequate road management so Metgasco’s numerous truck movements do not jeopardise the safety of northern rivers residents,’ he added.

Mr Guise said it was the gas company, not Gasfield Free protesters, who were potentially causing havoc on the area’s roads.

‘The real issue is that Metgasco is drilling at the top of a crest and they will be bringing in numerous trucks and rigs that will pose a significant safety threat. Anyone else would be required to put in a third turning lane at that point,’ he said.


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  1. the real criminals in this matter are the liars on richmond city council masquerading as local govt, when state govt is actually as local as it gets in this country. The stark reality is that no council in australia has the right to issue fines or control what anybody does, most especially when it is decent caring people standing up to protect ground water from the criminal actions of gas companies and the abuse of office being carried out by state and federal govt officials. I would like to see police actually address the REAL crime being carried out in these issues by addresseing the criminal actions of these gas companies and the corrupt politicians who support them, rather than terrorizing the locals who are attempted to prevent these crimes and who are in fact, doing the job of the police for them.

  2. From a community point of view we are really concerned that Metgasco and other unconventional gas miners will ignore overwhelming public opinion, and invade the region with all sorts of vehicles such as gasrigs. water tankers, chemical tankers, maintenance trucks and so on, and that could well disrupt traffic, and, endanger lives and livelihoods.

  3. Traffic disruption is a minor concern in comparison with the disruption to aquifers and ground water that is caused by unconventional mining. Santos spilled toxic water in March last year and just got a paltry $1500 fine. Bores in South West Qld are contaminated and failing. Mining companies take no responsibility, just quick profits and leave the community with a devastated landscape. standing up and resisting them is the only responsible action a person can take. Sorry commuters but start making your alternative route plans now. Responsible employers in the area need to make contingency arrangements for some traffic disruption

  4. The people of Kyogle, who in the vast majority are opposed to gas mining, need to be kept informed of what’s happening at the Bentley protest site – then they can drive via Casino to Lismore where many of them are forced to work. With warning, most will not complain – as they want to see the mining industry rejected – and then there will be much less traffic and much less risk

  5. Tony Abbott goes on about Mandates.. well here one for you Tony… councils have had a mandate from the people of the Northern Rivers to say NO to CSG …..a real mandate…. Lismore council can give you the numbers as can any other council, so we can throw the MANDATE at word you too. Get out of town you are not welcome.


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