Coal seam gas opponents will today present 6000 signed postcards calling for a gasfield free northern rivers to candidates in the upcoming election.
The postcards were collected in just six weeks and will be handed to the candidates at Riverside Park alongside the Wilsons River.
Gasfield Free Northern Rivers regional coordinator Elly Bird said the location next to the river was chosen to highlight the fact that major waterways and water supply areas were still covered with gas exploration licences.
‘For example, parts of the Wilsons River catchment, which is one of Rous Water’s regional water supply areas, are covered by a gas licence that was renewed by the current government in November 2014,’ Ms Bird said.
‘Rous Water supplies around 90,000 people across the region, including the residents of Lismore, Ballina and Byron Bay.”
‘Rous Water have identified that we may well need to rely on ground water in the near future as water demand outstrips current supply options.
‘Large-scale gas production in our catchments would place these vital groundwater resources at risk.
‘River systems covered by active licences include the Clarence which is the biggest river on the east coast, the Richmond and the Wilsons rivers and the headwaters of the Tweed.
‘These waterways are relied on by our agricultural and tourism industries and are used recreationally by our communities.
‘The threat to our regional water supply areas, and the impacts of gasfield industrialisation on our clean green tourist image are two of the reasons this is a big issue in all electorates across the northern rivers.
‘Both Labor and the Greens have policies to ban unconventional gas right across our region.
‘The current government is cancelling licences over Sydney’s water catchments, so why aren’t they cancelling ours?
‘The thousands of people who have signed these postcards have declared that they will be voting for a Gasfield Free region on March 28th.
‘This means they will be choosing candidates who have made a commitment to protecting the water resources, farmlands and communities of the northern rivers from coal seam gas and other unconventional gas mining.
‘In yet another phenomenal display of community sentiment on this issue, these postcards have been collected in just 6 weeks, and we know there are many more out there in the community that haven’t yet made it back to us.’
‘The response of so many people to the postcards is another indication of just how important this issue will be in deciding the outcome of the upcoming election in Northern Rivers electorates.’
Meanwhile, NSW Greens senator Lee Rhiannon has lodged a federal Senate motion about the donations Labor has received from mining giant Santos, calling on federal Labor to follow the lead of Luke Foley and return the money.
The motion is expected to be voted on today between 4pm and 4.30pm.
It calls on the federal government to ban political donations from mining and coal seam gas companies, and to end CSG and coal mining on agricultural lands and associated water resources.
The motion notes that federal Labor received more than $90,000 from Santos in the 2012-14 financial years, and that NSW Labor has agreed to return a recent $2000 donation from Santos.