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Byron Shire
October 16, 2021

Gas-free activists target north coast MPs

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Knitting Nannas outside the office of Lismore MP Thomas George today (Tuesday), calling for a gas-free northern rivers. (Darren Coyne)
Knitting Nannas outside the office of Lismore MP Thomas George today (Tuesday), calling for a gas-free northern rivers. (Darren Coyne)

The Knitting Nannas are starting to think Lismore MP Thomas George doesn’t like them.

The Nannas have been turning up to Mr George’s office in Lismore every Thursday now since June 2012 but the local MP fails to appear every time.

‘We have to make do with the cardboard cutout (of Mr George on the window),’ Knitting Nanna founder Clare Twomey told Echonetdaily.

‘We haven’t missed a Thursday, not even at Christmas,” Mrs Twomey said.

Today’s protest was in response to a recent report by the NSW chief scientist that the gas industry has claimed gives a green light to the industry.

The Nannas and other gas activists reject that completely, and today renewed their calls for the state government to declare the region gas free.

Similar actions also took place outside Don Page’s office in Ballina and Chris Gulaptis’ office in Grafton.

Bentley landowner, Ross Joseph, said the NSW chief scientist’s report should provide no incentive to gas companies to persist in their efforts to mine in the northern rivers.

‘We completely reject the gas industry’s claim that the chief scientist’s report signals a green light for unconventional gas mining in NSW,’ Mr Joseph said.

‘On the contrary, this report confirms the risks to health, water and food security that the current planned expansion of unconventional mining poses to our state.

‘The northern rivers is a closely settled region, with existing high value farming and tourism industries and world class natural areas. These communities, industries and natural values should not be placed at risk from unsafe gas mining under any circumstances.’

‘The inevitable industrialisation of our scenic landscapes that would result from unconventional gasfields will not be tolerated by our community,’ he said.

The actions follow a recent announcement from NSW labor that it would declare the region gas-free if elected. The Greens have previously called for a gas-free region, as have the majority of councils in the region.

Ballina tourism operator, Wendy Duncan said it was time for the sitting members to listen

‘The chief scientist has recommended a complete overhaul of all the laws managing CSG in NSW as well as extensive research, risk assessments and baseline data collection before any drilling occurs,’ Ms Duncan said.

‘We are calling on the NSW Government to  refuse any expansion of this industry until these  assessments and overhauls have been done and exclusion zones put in place in areas of the state where farmland, water resources and the health of communities would be negatively impacted.’

Gasfield Free Northern Rivers spokesperson Dean Draper said the risks of the gas industry were too great.

‘Metgasco’s history in our region clearly demonstrates the risks of this industry and they have only drilled a handful of exploration wells so far,’ Mr Draper said.

‘In 2013, 200 metres of drilling rods were blasted into the air along with a huge fireball at Metgasco’s Kingfisher well right near Casino, which sent workmen running for their lives.

‘Accidents like the one at Kingfisher, in addition to the health risks from gasfield pollution, show that industrial gasfields and people do not mix and there is no place for a gas industry in our region.’




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  1. Again, the media is pushing for the ‘labels’ given by APPEA and the gas industry. It is NOT “Anti-Gas groups” not “Gas-free activists”, IT IS “Gasfield Free community members”.

    By saying ‘anti-gas groups’, it is prove the gas industry has not consulted with the community as they are showing they do not understand the issue here, but want to push for yet another misleading ‘label’.

    It is not a group when over 85% of the community has manifested over and over again in the last three years that it is against the ‘Gasfield’ invasion that would industrialise and pollute the Northern Rivers region.

    The community is not ‘anti-gas’, they want most of all to protect their existing economy (farming, tourism and others), protect their precious water from pollution – the community is against GASFIELDS invasion to unsuited areas.

    Please get it right and respect this great and long community campaign. It is called ‘Gasfield Free Northern Rivers’ community campaign. (please, just visit the website and Facebook of the same name to learn more about it).


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