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April 16, 2021

Lismore wants to be a ‘no-go zone’ for gas

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Lismore City Council wants to become gasfield free.

Darren Coyne

Lismore councillor Mathew Scheibel doesn’t want to ‘shut the door’ on gas mining in the northern rivers region.

That may be so, but he’s no doubt feeling a little disappointed after last night’s Lismore City Council meeting.

His was the lone voice speaking up for the gas industry.

At last night’s Lismore City Council meeting Cr Scheibel spoke of touring gas fields where agricultural pursuits co-existed with the gas industry, where farmers were benefiting from an alternative revenue stream.

His fellow councillors disagreed.

Deputy mayor Simon Clough’s motion to write to the NSW premier Mike Baird requesting that the Lismore local government area be declared a ‘no-go zone’ for unconventional gas mining received ayes from all except Cr Scheibel.

‘It’s time for this council to say enough is enough,’ Cr Clough said.

In calling for petroleum exploration licences to be revoked, Cr Clough said local industries such as beef, sugar and dairying were not compatible with the gas industry.

‘It’s clear we need to act,’ he said.

‘Our sustainable rural industries need protection.’

Cr Clough also spoke of the impact on the local tourism industry, which employs 8,000 people, saying ‘people don’t come here to look at gasfields.’

He said any potential income from the gas industry was ‘short term’; gas could be exported overseas for perhaps 15 years with little local benefit.

‘We’re left with the residue. Our water polluted, our air polluted, our people sick from the poisoning of water and air.

‘It time for Lismore to declare itself a no-go zone for unconventional gas,’ he said.

‘How about making that all gas mining,’ Cr Gianpiero Battista suggested, and the other councillors agreed to the request.

Cr Isaac Smith said he had met with the Norco board and farmers a few weeks ago and they saw gas as ‘being the biggest most negative factor that could change the industry in the region’.

The Lismore decision to write to the premier follows a similar motion from the Ballina Shire Council recently, and comes as Byron Shire Council is set to discuss a similar motion tomorrow.

Voting in favour at Lismore were mayor Jenny Dowell, Simon Clough, Gianpero Battista, Glenys Ritchie, Ray Houston, Isaac Smith, Greg Bennett and Vanessa Ekins.

Crs Graham Meinke and Neil Marks were absent.

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  1. So happy & proud to have our councillors ( well, all but one) looking after the interest of its people & environment. Thankyou, thankyou, thankyou!

  2. Mining is a dirty business in every way . Takes our minerals and resources , owned by every Australian , 87% of the profits go over seas , bought down two sitting Prime Ministers , Gough Whitlam and Kevin Rudd. Gough wanted Mines to be 100% Australian owned , Kevin wanted to tax them. Oh no, tax is what the average Australian worker pays not a Mining Company making a 1 Billion a week profit and what do they leave us with ? A hole in the ground you can see from space and a stinking toxic mess that will be around for thousands of years .
    Friends of mine recently returned from a trip to central QLD , the mining was over and all the locals were left with is a tailings dam containing enough cyanide to wipe out the Barrier Reef, the walls of which are dirt. What happens if it floods ? Cyclone ? Mining takes the resources they don’t own from land they don’t own , makes huge profits , pays us next to nothing , a few locals get a few crumbs , a few Australians get rich beyond their wildest dreams and all of us are left with an environmental disaster many generations will have to live with . Good on the local Councils for taking a stand – it’s blatantly obvious next to no one wants it .

    • Well said Graco!! Couldn’t have put it better myself! I will add that funds raised in the Northern Rivers last year paid for the health testing of residents of Tara and the Western Downs in Queensland, who are surrounded by csg wells and all except one, tested positive to csg related chemicals which are causing very worrying health effects. So, well done to the majority of Lismore Councillors.

  3. Councillor Scheibel spruiking the co-existence line will undoubtedly draw some discussion.

    I am more interested in this comment though: “the local tourism industry, which employs 8,000 people”. Perhaps the shareholders and industry employees/shills who read these comments would like to comment on co-existence between industrial mining and tourism?

  4. Thank goodness that the vast majority of Councillors, and the vast majority of residents/ratepayers of this area do not hold the same view as Councillor Scheibel. Even those of us who fall within the Kyogle LGA can breathe again, now that we have a similarly responsible Mayor in the form of Danielle Mulholland, and an also environmentally and socially conscious Deputy Mayor, to boot! Sanity prevails!

  5. 3 cheers for Lismore City Council and good on you Councillor Clough. Would have been interested to see how the 2 absent councillors would have voted!


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