Hundreds turn out for highway protest

Mullumbimby activist Radha Wilkinson targets motorists on the Pacific Highway at Tyagarah on Saturday (June 8) as part of the annual Water is Life protest. Photo supplied

Mullumbimby activist Radha Wilkinson targets motorists on the Pacific Highway at Tyagarah on Saturday (June 8) as part of the annual Water is Life protest. Photo supplied#

Hundreds of people from Grafton to the Queensland border flanked the Pacific Highway on Saturday (July 8) for the annual Water is Life protest action.

Locally there were groups at Tugun, Tweed and Tyagarah, as well as further south at Broadwater and Grafton.

The Bruxner Highway also saw its share of roadside protesters, with a contingent at Lismore.

Billed as ‘Australia’s longest protest action, it is the third year that people have lined the nation’s highways to protest the impacts of CSG and coal mining, among others, on the nation’s groundwater.

According to local organiser Radha Wilkinson, ‘the main issue this year is the threat to the Pilliga Forest from Santos’ CSG exploration there. A lot of people had ‘stop gas in the Pilliga’ signs,’ she said.

But the group’s concerns didn’t stop there, with Ms Wilkinson saying there were fears that CSG licences could be reissued in the Northern Rivers, despite the state government’s denial.

In June, Lock the Gate told Echonetdaily that the NSW Government’s Strategic Release Framework for coal and gas exploration ‘allows holders of expunged petroleum titles to reapply for areas where licences have been bought back or cancelled,’ including in the Northern Rivers.

‘Additionally you may already be aware that the federal Liberal/National government is demanding states lift bans or moratoriums in their push to further extract gas and roll it out across the country for the export trade… effectively blackmailing states to do so otherwise they will prevent their access to vital GST funds for states,’ Ms Wilkinson said.


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