Updated: It would seem to be a no-brainer, yet it appears not all north coast federal candidates have embraced Lock the Gate’s clean water campaign equally.
The National Party Richmond candidate Matthew Fraser and Page sitting member Kevin Hogan may not be doing themselves any favours, however, by side-stepping an issue that is so key to their core voting base of farmers.
Greens candidate for Richmond Dawn Walker was the first in the region to sign up to the Water4Life campaign, which among other things calls for the protection of nationally significant drinking water sources (including creating CSG no-go zones), protecting food-producing land from mining, and establishing a national Environment Protection Authority to administer a new Clean Air and Water Act.
On Tuesday, Lock the Gate members briefly camped outside of the offices of candidates and MPs in both seats seeking their support for the pledge.
Greens Richmond candidate Dawn Walker immediately issued a media release saying she was ‘proud to be with the only political party to sign onto both recent community requests on the unconventional gas industry; to sign the Pollution Free Politics pledge and to commit to the Water4Life Index.’
Not long after, Labor’s sitting member for Richmond, Justine Elliot, said she would also support the index.
She was swiftly followed by Page candidates Kudra Falla-Ricketts (Greens) and Janelle Saffin (Labor), while Page’s sitting Nationals MP, Kevin Hogan, offered to ‘pass on any information to the relevant ministers’, according to Lock the Gate’s Elly Bird.
Ms Walker said the Greens are ‘once again leading the way on protecting water and farmland from coal seam gas in our unequivocal commitment to the Water4Life Index.’
‘The Greens continue will continue their to fight to give landholders the right to say no to coal seam gas on their land.
‘I congratulate the northern rivers community who are leading the country in our push to transition to renewable energy and away from environmentally destructive and emission intensive fossil fuels like coal seam gas.’ said Ms Walker.
Richmond Nationals candidate Matthew Fraser told Echonetdaily, ‘Coal Seam Gas and any other forms of intrusive mining have no place in the northern rivers, and since the Nationals cancelled all of Labor’s CSG licenses we can proudly call the northern rivers CSG free.
‘The Water4life index is a really positive collection of policies and I will always support any measures that will ensure Coal Seam Gas never returns to the northern rivers.
‘If I am being asked to back each end every measure, that makes it very difficult. For example, the creation of a new national Environment Protection Authority duplicates the regulation of the states, adds an extra layer of red tape and will end up hurting farmers and small businesses.
If elected, I would be happy to work with anyone to ensure that CSG never returns to the northern rivers and our water is protected.’
More stories on the 2016 federal election
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My fearless prediction is that the coalition will end up with between 76 to 78 seats in the House of Representatives, a thin but decisive majority. But this is not the way it was meant to be.
Nearly three years ago, on the eve of the last Federal election, this web site warned that a Tony Abbott-led Coalition government presented a grim outlook for clean energy and climate change, and we warned too that it could be even worse than most people feared.
Incumbent northern rivers MPs Kevin Hogan (Page, Nationals) and Justine Elliot (Richmond, Labor) have retained their seats after a knife-edge federal election result which could see a hung parliament.
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