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May 16, 2021

Lismore to debate removal of CSG sign

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The CSG sign on the roof of a Ballina Road house in Lismore.
The CSG sign on the roof of a Ballina Road house in Lismore.

By Darren Coyne

Is this a sign of the times?

Just days after re-electing a National party representative, Lismore’s councillors are being asked to decide the fate of an anti-coal seam gas banner that graces the roof of a house in Ballina Road.

The banner – which features the message “87% Voted No to CSG” – was painted by street artist Justin Livingston just over three years ago, and then repainted after being damaged in a storm.

But following a request from councillor Mathew Scheibel in September last year, council compliance officers were asked to investigate the legalities of the Ballina Road banner, and another on a farm shed on Nimbin road.

Cr Scheibel again raised the issue on 10 March, just prior to the state election, pointing out that National’s candidate Thomas George was directed to remove his sign from a building in Ballina Road.

‘I see that the ‘No CSG’ roof sign is still on the house in Ballina Road (near Bruxner Crescent),’ he wrote.

In a letter to the council’s compliance manager Peter Jeuken, the tenant of the house, Jenny Luenig, explained why she had commissioned the sign.

Ms Luenig said she had attended an anti-CSG meeting at the Lismore Workers Club in March, 2012, and had come away wanting to do something to ‘show my dislike of the filthy CSG industry’.

With the house owner’s permission, she commissioned the mural.

‘I must admit that it didn’t even occur to me to contact Council because I had the owner’s permission,’ she wrote.

‘I hate the thought of having to take the sign down because one person has complained but am willing to do if that is Council’s decision.

‘I have also assured the owner that I would reimburse him if he incurred any costs. In return, he has reassured me that I have his full support in putting in this submission.

Ms Leunig said she had been a resident of the northern rivers for 41 years and ‘absolutely love our beautiful area and the banner represents my fight against an industry that our local Council doesn’t want either’.

‘I hope Council can look on it as a work of art that is my gift to the 87 per cent of our community who are against CSG.’

When the councillors meet next Tuesday, they must decide whether to remove the sign, issue a fine, or let Ms Leunig’s ‘gift’ remain in place.

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  1. Whether this is anything to do with Thomas George, in the wake of his skin of his pants reelection, or whether it has nought to do with him, a decision to remove that sign is just encouraging dissent. Any move to thwart the rights of the 87% opposed to CGS to voice their opinion on such an unpopular and unwelcome industry is foolhardy in the extreme.

  2. Well doesn’t it make it bleedingly obvious that Mathew Scheibel represents the 13% that has no social conscious, or a vested interest in destroying our beautiful home?
    Have you ever heard of the concept of democracy Mathew ?
    It is still a wonderful thing, that some decent citizens are prepared to represent the side of good and hope .
    Thank you Jenny !

  3. How soon we forgot we all remember the movie the Castle also what happen to freedom of speech. I think the people of Lismore should vote on the sign. I mean if two agreed with the sign would that not trump Thomas George

  4. I love this sign. It is not offensive and represents the sentiment of the majority of our population. I think it should stay until this issue is resolved and the licences are cancelled. Mr George said if he got back in he would buy them back, it would be easier to just cancel them and make the issue go away!
    It will be good to see he is a man of his word and then I am sure everyone will be happy to see the signs removed.

  5. Laws are about “precedent”. I take it that everyone’s “agreement” that this sign should be allowed to stay gives me the right to erect a large “drink Coka Cola” sign on my roof? I mean, 87% of people in the Northern Rivers drink Coke, and therefore support me having a massive advertising sign on my roof.

    Let’s be clear. All your emotional positions on CSG are not relevant to this signage issue. It is a signage issue and needs to be treated as such, and to save every Tom, Dick, and Harry putting up signs about anything that pleases them, this sign will presumably need to come down.

    • Go for it Jimbbo
      Put a Coke ad on your roof !
      Every one will know you’re a total wanker, but that’s truth in advertising!

  6. Hang on… If it is illegal for Thomas George and he HAS to remove his sign (and does), why is this person allowed to do what ever they want?

    The comments here smack of double standards. The laws should be applied equally.

  7. Funny I’m a JimB. I can guess what his BB stands for, I would prefer the more polite and accurate JimBN. Anyway back to his position. I don’t get it. In a democracy we should all get a vote. Most people I know would vote against a drink that is full of sugar and no doubt repatriates its vast profits back to the USA via some tax haven.
    Once upon a time most towns and suburbs in most of Australia’s large cities had their own brands of soft drink. All they contain is water, syrup and when carbonated to produce the bubbles. Then in the late ’50s along comes Coke and through a massive advertising and marketing campaign they wipe out the local bottlers replacing them with Sprite, Fanta, etc. Soon no Aussie soft drinks, just the 2 O/S big Boys: CocoColaAmitil and SchweppsCadburys.

    Greed is just relentless whether CSG, soft drink makers or Tax dodging.

  8. But if this piece of artwork is deemed to be illegal will other artwork in the city be painted over, or removed ? After all, doesn’t all public artwork necessarily advertise a point of view?

    Perhaps there’s a very small percentage of the community that finds this declaration of fact from a rooftop very disconcerting …a somewhat abrasive truth that irks every time it’s seen … but then again I’d find the sighting of rigs & waste ponds particularly offensive scattered across our farming lands.

    • Good point Margaret. We shouldn’t even be having this discussion – even if 87.6% didn’t say ‘no’. Our Liberty and ‘Democracy’ are getting gradually whittled away. I’d march to defend ‘the sign’ . I love it and say a silent thanks to the occupant every time I pass it.

  9. Coka Cola has nothing to do with this issue. As a community we do not make money from this sign. This isn’t any Tom Dick Harry or Martha for that matter, this is about our environment being clean and unpolluted, our community matters more than corporate values or even rules imposed by governing bodies that ignore the truth about the pollution and degradation that’s being created by this fracking form of industrial vandalism. If they refuse to put the rights of people expressing the views of the majority of people then true democracy does not exist in this country. I doubt that this is a law and further if it is in a true democracy Laws are changed according to reasonable values which protect the rights of individuals within the greater community not the individuals within corporations that stand to make money at every one else’s expense. Ultimately its like shitting in your own nest, how would you feel if your children could not go out to play because the ground is so toxic.that they would require treatment to get well again. Thinknig that this is simply a issue of law is putting your head in the sand as it seems most politicians around the planet are. All our children will suffer and no amount of Technology will save them If we keep putting economics and ill informed laws in front of Intelligent behaviour, not only will we have Global Warming, we’ll have a bog to live in with Global Disease being more deadly than the Warming. Do you honestly think you could justify to yourself that you are not responsible?

  10. A coincidence you think? The Nationals win with the donkey vote and free speech and knitting nannas come under attack.

  11. Freedom is valuable. So is the survival of other species, and our own survival. Health of water and land, is no trivial matter. Nor is it trivial that corporations can do deals to buy the minerals on our properties to promote an outdated pyramid Government system and fossil fuel energy, neither of which is sustainable. That The majority in Lismore voted against Fracking deserves applause, and that someone painted the result on their roof is cause for hope. It shows that wisdom and freedom are still alive, and also gets my applause.

  12. Australia, luckiest country in the world to have freedom of speech, envy of the world thus the voice of 87% of the people must never be silenced by removing that sign which also is the voice of 13% of others. The picture is artistic too. 100% support to Jenny and the house owner. Nibble away at locking down freedom of speech, then what quality of life will we leave behind for our grand children and great grand children?

  13. The sign is not a political advertisement, unlike Thomas George’s. It is a statement of fact and a comment on an environmental issue, not a direct political statement. It should stay. If not, I’m sure 100 more will spring up in its place. I have a nice big roof, albeit with not as much public exposure as that one. Sour grapes by the Nationals, who wouldn’t have had a hope of winning without the gerrymander.

  14. All council’s are…are administrators for the State Gov. They have NO standing in law and are not recognized by our constitution . So far the Australian public has rejected EVERY sneaky attempt by standing governments of the day to “accept them as a third tier of government” in sneaky referendums. AS it is now , we can still challenge them on everything. Eg Dog’s license, fishing license, council fines etc…All their By Laws are illegal because by our constitution they – are NOT allowed to make up a law and enforce it.All laws come through parliament where they were just legislation to start with ( you can always say “I don’t consent” to any legislation) Then they were read before parliament and received Royal Assent, which means it is then a proper law. Check out your common law rights!! By the way…every Council has an ABN number which means they are a private company – and a private company needs a wet ink signature on a contract between you and them on each and every matter that you are discussing with them for them to have any leverage in law. Our constitution protects us from fines from private companies.Check out Truthology.org.au or http://www.knowyourrightsgroup.com.au

  15. This has nothing to do with CSG. The case in point is do building owners have the right to express themselves by placing non-advertizing signs on their rooves? If the sign stated instead ‘No to cigarette smoking’, is it permitted? We don’t want advertizing billboards brandished from rooftop to rooftop, are signs like these also uglification? Can I write in bright colours across my roof the word ‘smile’ ?

  16. Mr Peter Jeuken head of planning at LCC would be far better off concerning himself with business compliance around Lismore. South Lismore has deteriorated with industrial noise emanating day and night from business. This non compliance affects negatively for residents. We pay rates too Peter and you work for us.
    We know what we can do about Mathew!

  17. What right have the scum bag Liberal National Parties to destroy our freedom of speech and democracy? They are certainly working on it…..NATIONALLY !!!!!!!!!!!


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