The indomitable Knitting Nannas will be outside Lismore MP Thomas George’s office in Lismore, and Metgasco’s office in Casino today for what they hope will be their last knit-in.
Since forming almost three and half years ago, the Nannas have maintained their vigil outside Mr George’s office, and later the Metgasco office, calling for an end to gas exploration in the northern rivers region.
But with the news earlier this week that the NSW Government and the board of Metgasco had stuck a $25 million deal, the Nannas are hoping they might be able to take a little Nanna Nap for a little while.
Nanna Clare Twomey said today’s Knit-In would be a celebration of the deal, although Nannas were still wary that Metgasco shareholders might not approve the deal at a shareholders meeting, expected in December.
Nanna Twomey said the Nannas’ message to shareholders was that the government’s offer was ‘a great deal’.
‘Gas exploration and mining are very high risk ventures and I don’t think they’ve got a better way of getting any money back,’ she said.
‘If they don’t accept the deal then we will be coming back out in force,’ she promised.
‘We’ll be lining up our sleeping bags across Rock Valley Road (near the site of Metgasco’s Rosella well) and it could make a terrible mess if they try to come back.’
Nanna Twomey said the Knitting Nannas movement, which she described as a ‘disorganisation’, had spread across Australia and to the United Kingdom.
‘There are now 40 Nanna groups across Australia and the UK so it’s a model that we’ve shared with other groups,’ she said.
‘It’s been very effective because we’re quite colourful so we’ve been getting lots of media attention and support from the community.’
During their regular Thursday Knit-Ins, the Nannas have had the police called on them on a number of occasions, but have little contact with Mr George or Metgasco staff.
‘Thomas has only come out once by mistake. It was early on and he came around the corner and was quite taken aback to see us there,’ she said.
‘That’s despite the fact we’ve given him flowers, easter eggs and Christmas cards, and made written requests for meetings.
‘Over the last couple of years he won’t even meet with us.’
Today’s Knit-In outside Mr George’s office and Metgasco will take place at 2pm.
‘There will be streamers, balloons and lollies and we’ll be out in force with sparklers and champagne,’ Nanna Twomey said.