22 C
Byron Shire
May 14, 2021

Bentley farmers’ delegation visits parliament

Latest News

Bluesfest announces October dates for 2021 festival

After two disappointing cancelations of their event, Bluesfest has announced that they will hold the 2021 festival over the...

Other News

Remembering Bentley

Saturday 15 May is the seventh anniversary of Victory Day at the historic Bentley Blockade, just west of Lismore.

School Strike for Climate next Friday

Next Friday from 10am Byron Shire students will be demanding political action on the climate emergency in what they and their supporters say is our present, future and reality. 

Development of the Belongil Spit

Jo Faith, Newtown I was gobsmacked when I read that the ‘Greens’ mayor’s parting gift was to aid privatisation of land...

Cocaine bust in Byron Shire, 7 men arrested

Police say two separate investigations into the ongoing supply of cocaine in the Byron Bay area have led to charges against seven men.

False impressions

Fast Buck$, Coorabell I was under the impression that, upon the mayor resigning, the deputy mayor would automatically get the...

Power outage in Byron Shire

Power supply company Essential Energy says that approximately 1,780 homes and businesses were without supply this morning.

NSW MLCs Jan Barham, right, and Jeremy Buckingham, with Bentley farmers?? and ?? in Parliament House last week. Photo supplied
NSW Greens MLCs Jan Barham, right, and Jeremy Buckingham, with Bentley locals Meg Nielsen, second left, and Rosemary Joseph in Parliament House last week. Photo supplied

Hans Lovejoy

Last week saw further chaos in NSW parliament as disreputable politicians either resigned or ignored their code of conduct over bribes, slush funds and donation disclosures.

But despite the low political ebb, a group of Bentley residents travelled to Sydney in the hope of speaking to politicians about their concerns over unconventional gas exploration in their area.

Former Byron Shire mayor and now upper house MLC, Jan Barham (Greens), told Echonetdaily, ‘I was very pleased to be able to assist the delegation while they were in the parliament and encourage other MPs to hear the locals’ fears about their future if Metgasco proceeds.

‘The Christian Democrats and Robert Borsack from the Shooters and Fishers Party did meet with the Bentley delegation and respectfully heard their side of the story,’ Ms Barham said.

‘Many ALP and Coalition members also met with the Bentley farmers, but It was extremely disappointing that the premier did not take the time to sit down and listen to the concerned citizens of Bentley.’

Ms Barham said that many MPs raised questions and spoke about the Bentley blockade and the use of police against the protectors.

‘The new premier is now aware of the broad community opposition to CSG on the north coast and the requests for him to review the situation,’ she said.

‘The government is claiming that the Metgasco’s Bentley operation is a lawful, low key project that should be allowed to proceed and that the blockade is unlawful.

‘But many people have concerns that the Bentley exploration approval is the Trojan horse of industrial scale gas production for the north coast.

‘The community are savvy enough to realise that it’s crucial to stop this now, so that the sustainable future that locals want is possible.

‘As I raised in an adjournment speech last week, Mr Baird’s inaugural speech in 2007 stated that he expected the Liberal Party to lead the restoration of a community-based party in this place.

‘He said at the time: “We should never be ashamed of listening to our conscience nor to our community—in essence this is why we are here”.

‘Premier Baird should listen to the community and reverse the licence approval and call off the police intervention on a peaceful, democratic response to an unwanted industrialisation of the north coast.

‘This issue will be a test for the new premier and the government and will impact on next years election.’

Recent stories tagged Bentley Blockade:

The loneliness of the long distance activist

In Australia, it's not easy being green. There are no monuments to those who have risked their lives and liberty in the defence of Australia's unique and precious ecology.


Bentley blockaders back in action for flood relief

Bentley blockaders are coordinating flood relief assistance in Lismore using their on the ground co-ordination and communication gained during the blockade to assist the community during the clean up.


Youngest Page candidate signs ‘pollution-free’ pledge

Greens candidate for the seat of Page, Kudra Falla-Ricketts, launched her campaign yesterday at the site of the Bentley CSG battleground.


Metgasco gone: shareholders accept govt buyback

Metgasco shareholders have voted to accept the NSW Government’s $25 million CSG licence buyback offer which means the northern rivers will remain gasfield free and protected by community.


Support The Echo

Keeping the community together and the community voice loud and clear is what The Echo is about. More than ever we need your help to keep this voice alive and thriving in the community.

Like all businesses we are struggling to keep food on the table of all our local and hard working journalists, artists, sales, delivery and drudges who keep the news coming out to you both in the newspaper and online. If you can spare a few dollars a week – or maybe more – we would appreciate all the support you are able to give to keep the voice of independent, local journalism alive.


  1. Premier Baird, in refusing to meet with the delegation of farmers, has just demonstrated very clearly, and very early on in his term as Premier, just how indifferent he is to meeting his pledge to end corruption. This industry’s incursion into our most valuable agricultural land was enabled by corruption. All licences should therefore be revoked. The people understand that, and if our politicians can’t grasp that simple truth one must conclude that they are incapable of acting in the best interest of this nation, and therefore do not merit tenure.

    Just how does the deployment of 800 police to a peaceful protest in Bentley reflect Premier Baird’s pledge to undo corruption in this state? “We should never be ashamed of listening to our conscience nor to our community—in essence this is why we are here”. That IS why you are here, Premier Baird. These are your words. Please acknowledge the simple decency that informed them, and act accordingly.

  2. It appears”arrogance” is the theme of the Liberal Party. Anthony Roberts refused to talk to anyone against gas, “lawbreakers” he calls the Northern Rivers (the week before he appeared before ICAC himself but seemed to escape the noose so far, funny he and Mr Harcher holiday on yachts together) Mr Baird the man who now leads them refuses to speak to the people of Bentley. Who in hell do these guys think they are. Makes one wonder why they don’t have to talk to anyone, why some even go silent for the last three years after their son started working for a mining company, may not be a Lib but may as well be. We have the same arrogance with Federal Libs too, no one else matters, Campbell Newman would have to be the worst of all. Are we headed for a Dictatorship in this country?? Seems like it to everyone I speak to.

  3. Thank you Hans for clearly highlighting the brazenly stubborn stance of this NSW Coalition government, along with its persistent inability to come to terms with the true meaning/manifestations of “Democracy”. One important facet should be perhaps more effectively exposed: that is, the mantra like statement of: “This is a legal mining operation”. Thus, in one fell swoop, the government’s defence for the enormous police presence being organised is that ANY opposition is, by definition, illegal.

    I witnessed the same stance in last year’s Whian Whian logging fiasco (“This is a legal logging operation”), in spite of the fact that the EPA and Forestry Corporation had specifically ignored scientific & legally based environmental reports and surveys which had taken a directly contrary position. We (almost ALL of us were Whian Whian Road LOCALS) then were confronted by an overwhelming police presence (usually between 12 to 18 uniformed and so called Tactical Response Group thugs), a largely biased media throng (The Byron Shire Echo, Echonetdaily and ABC North Coast Radio being exemplary exceptions) and an unruly group of abusive and aggressive loggers. This confrontation only ended as a result of the accidental death of one of the loggers, who was struck by a falling limb … we still await the Coronial Inquest at Lismore Court.

    The point I would like to make is that these above events are skirmishes in a greater battle: the battle for Democracy. And to win this battle, we all need to look to the upcoming NSW election, and the defeat of the local incumbent, Thomas George. We need to find an Independent candidate, grounded in the three key qualities of INDEPENDENCE, INTELLIGENCE & INTEGRITY. Someone who can walk proudly in the footsteps of previous morally inspired politicians, such as Ted Mack, Peter Andren, Andrew Wilkie, Tony Windsor and Rob Oakeshott. Given Hans’ first sentence, there simply cannot be a more opportune time for this to occur.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

Power outage in Byron Shire

Power supply company Essential Energy says that approximately 1,780 homes and businesses were without supply this morning.

Filming of Byron Baes begins with no indigenous consultation

Filming of the Netflix series Byron Baes has reportedly commenced without any effort made by the show's production company – Eureka Productions – to consult with local indigenous groups or the local Council.

Byron Comedy Festival launched with a laugh

At a hilarious sold-out launch of the Byron Comedy Festival, Dr Karl Kruszelnicki had the entire Byron Bay Surf Club giggling last night

School Strike for Climate next Friday

Next Friday from 10am Byron Shire students will be demanding political action on the climate emergency in what they and their supporters say is our present, future and reality.