The Ballina Knitting Nannas against Gas joined with Ballina MP Tamara Smith yesterday for ‘a very merry knit-in, to craft the end of CSG in the region’.
The celebration marking the exit from the northern rivers of coal-seam gas (CSG) miner Metgasco was held in the Greens MP’s office in Moon Street, Ballina, the day after the mining company’s shareholders voted to accept a $25 million licence buyout by the state government.
Ms Smith described the news as ‘recognition of the region’s ‘people power’ and thanked all who contributed to the campaign for a CSG free northern rivers.
‘The deal has been sealed and our community is finally being delivered the protection against invasive gas fields it has so loudly called for,’ the MP said.
‘The Nanna’s have knitted their way into history as icons of the movement against coal seam gas, and now serve as an inspiration to other communities around the world facing the challenge we’ve just overcome.
‘At our merry knit in this morning, the Nanna’s took off their yellow and black beanies in celebration of everyone in this beautiful region who contributed to our coal seam gas free status!,’ Ms Smith said.
Wendy Duncan, from the Ballina Nannas, said the news was all ‘a huge sense of relief’ and ‘we can now celebrate that the whole of the northern rivers is CSG free.
‘The Nanna’s will knit on, weaving support across other communities who still face the threats posed by the unconventional gas industry,’ Ms Duncan said.
‘Not all communities are as “close knit” as ours and we Nannas will share our experience and what we’ve learnt to help them.
‘We are just so proud of everyone who stood up and said No to CSG here.
‘We will continue our non-violent direct knitting needle action, and take great pleasure in unravelling the unconventional gas industries PR spin.
Ms Smith said ‘We saw unprecedented community opposition to the industrialisation of our region across all sectors of society- doctors, nurses, teachers, farmers and artists, all in unanimous refrain.
‘I too stood with the protectors at Bentley, Lock the Gate, Gasfield Free Northern Rivers, our Knitting Nannas and the tens of thousands in our community as we demanded an end to this toxic industry,’ the MP said.
‘Following Bentley, the battle continued at the ballot box.
‘The March state election on the north coast was clearly a referendum on coal seam gas, and to all those who spoke with a green vote, you have been heard.
‘It is disappointing the future of our pristine environment has been on a precipice at the mercy of a mining company rather than being protected by government legislation.
‘But the power of our tight-knit community propelled together by a common cause has prevailed and we’ve set a precedent for others challenging environmental threats in their own backyard.
‘This is a watershed moment. 2015 will go down in history as the year we established a coal seam gas free northern rivers.