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Byron Shire
June 13, 2021

Gas activists to confront election hopefuls in Page, Richmond

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Gasfield Free Northern Rivers members will be confronting candidates in both the Richmond and Page electorates today asking them to support a new national campaign to protect water resources from risky coal and unconventional gas mining.

As part of the Water4Life campaign, candidates will be asked to make a clear commitment to protecting nationally significant water resources, supporting the ‘dining boom’, and ensuring the health of people and communities.

In Page, people will gather outside National Party MP Kevin Hogan’s Molesworth Street office in Lismore at 2pm, before meeting Greens candidate Kudra Falla-Ricketts at the Lismore Environment Centre at 2.30pm.

In Richmond, they will meet with Greens candidate Dawn Walker at the She Oak Shack in Fingal at 2pm, before moving on to Labor MP Justine Elliot’s office in South Tweed Heads at 3pm.

Gasfield Free Northern Rivers spokesperson Elly Bird said all candidates would be urged to adopt the #Water4Life16 index in the lead-up to the federal election.

She said Labor’s Janelle Saffin, candidate for Page, was approached yesterday and was ‘supportive’ of the movement, while National’s candidate for Richmond Matthew Fraser had not been able to be contacted.

‘On the driest inhabited continent on earth, where people and landscapes depend on vulnerable water resources, Australia needs laws that protect our water from unsafe coal and unconventional gas developments,’ Ms Bird said.

‘New mapping released last week reveals that over 37% of Australia is covered by coal and gas licences and applications.

‘Some of the nationally significant water supplies at risk include Sydney’s drinking water catchment, important groundwater resources for Perth and Alice Springs, the vast inland water supplies of the Great Artesian Basin, and the wonderful desert rivers of the Lake Eyre Basin of south-west Qld.

‘We’ve seen the damage that mining can do to water supplies in Australia – there have already been too many mining and water scandals like contamination of groundwater by CSG activities in north-west NSW and pollution of creeks from coal mining in Qld and NSW.

‘This is everyone’s problem – if you eat food, drink water, and breathe air – then this is an issue that will affect you.’

Ms Bird said today’s action was happening across the country.

‘We’re joining other residents at numerous electorate offices right across the country, in every state and territory, to demand action to protect our water for life, not for the mining giants,’ she said.

More details are available at www.lockthegate.org.au/water4life

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