At 5am on Monday May 19 a Convoy of Concern will roll out of Byron Bay headed for the Bentley Blockade.
Organiser of the convoy, Byron Shire councillor Paul Spooner, said the widespread speculation that the police may attempt to smash the blockade that morning to force access by Metgasco’s drill rigs prompted him to deliver another sort of message: ‘From Byron Bay with love to the CSG Bentley Blockade’.
‘The Convoy of Concern is to enable people from Byron Bay to stand in solidarity with those who have been peacefully maintaining the blockade at the Bentley site for many weeks now,’ Cr Spooner said.
‘Why I decided to organise it this way is that I was talking to people in town who were interested in going to Bentley but could only make it that day,’ he told Echonetdaily.
‘Other people did not have cars and that’s the reason for the car pooling,’ he added.
Cr Spooner said the group would be endeavouring to make it to the site before any police action commenced but, if not, they would conduct a peaceful action wherever they stopped.
‘In terms of what’s happening that day, the police still won’t comment, so it’s largely speculation at this stage.
‘If the roads are blocked we’ll go to plan B – which is to set up another blockade at a different point.
‘Whether we get to the campsite or whether we get stuck beforehand there will be a strong statement in that; but I’m hoping we will get to the Bentley site and I’ve got no reason to think that it won’t happen,’ Cr Spooner said.
He added the response so far had been ‘fantastic in terms of people who want to come on board but don’t want to go on their own’.
‘For people who’ve never done something like this before it’s a safe way to do it.’
People are invited to gather at the entrance to the Byron Community Centre, 69 Jonson Street, at 4.45am on Monday. Those who have vehicles are asked to share their cars with those who have no means of transport and car pooling is being encouraged.
The Convoy will leave at 5am to arrive at Bentley for sunrise.
Further information contact Cr Paul Spooner 0434 771 510 or [email protected].
Call to suspend licences
Meanwhile, Kyogle mayor Danielle Mulholland says north coast gas exploration licences should be suspended until the Independent Commission Against Corruption (ICAC) hands down its findings.
Cr Holland, who is also deputy chair of the Northern Rivers Regional Organisation of Councils (NOROC), told ABC North Coast that the scandals emerging from the ICAC had eroded public confidence in how successive governments had dealt with the resources industry.
She said suspending the licences until the inquiry was completed ‘would go a long way’ in restoring confidence in the state government.