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April 12, 2021

Lismore push for gasfield free status

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Lismore CIty Council is pushing for gasfield free status.
Lismore CIty Council is pushing for gasfield free status.

Darren Coyne

 The Lismore City Council will today debate whether to join the ranks of northern rivers councils requesting that the region be declared gas-field free.

Ballina recently voted to write to premier Mike Baird and his ministers, and the Byron Shire Council is set to discuss a similar motion on Thursday.

A motion by Cr Simon Clough urges his fellow councillors to also write to Mr Baird and state members asking that the local government area be declared a ‘no-go zone’ for unconventional gas mining.

Cr Clough’s motion also calls for all petroleum exploration licences to be revoked.

The opposition from local councils coincides with mining company Metgasco taking legal action against the state government over the suspension of its mining licence to drill at Bentley, just outside Lismore.

The company has claimed that the grounds of its suspension were not justified, and that it had complied with community consultation requirements.

Cr Clough’s motion points out that are 124 self-declared gasfield free communitiesin the northern rivers, where 27,776 people had responded to community-driven surveys.

Those surveys showed that 95.6 per cent of respondents wanted a gasfield free environment.

He also points to a 2012 poll conducted by the Australian Electoral Commission for Lismore City Council that showed that 87 per cent of voters did not want coal seam gas developments.

His motion lists industries that rely on access to clean water, healthy soil and clean air, such as tourism, which employs nearly 8000 people and reaps around $1.4 billion each year, and sugar cane farming which accounts for 1000 jobs and is expected to generate $4.6 billion over the next 20 years.

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