Thursday, 15 November 2012

Five more suburbs reject coal seam gas mining
5 Nov 2012

RESIDENTS of 25 roads from the five suburbs in the south of the Clarence Valley have declared their communities CSG-free. In a ceremony yesterday at the Kungala/Lanitza RFS Hall, declarations for the roads were handed to Clarence Valley Councillor Sue Hughes. Each declaration said the road was protected by the "will of the community". The event was the end of a long processs of surveying 432 residents (over the age of 16) in Lanitza, Kungala, Braunstone, Wells Crossing and Halfway Creek with the simple question-"Do you want your roads and lands CSG Free?".

CSG-Free Community co-ordinator (Clarence LGA) Lynette Eggins said eight residents said no, six were unsure but 95.6% stated they did not want gas fields in their community. "The CSG Free Communities Strategy is a grassroots democracy process", said Ms Eggins. "The NSW government has failed to protect farmers and communities from invasive gas fields. Now these communities have decided to take charge of their own destiny.

"These declarations are strong statements from the people, declaring their intent to defend their community from an invasive and reckless industry, an industry that poses risks to water, land values, farming land and the health of families".

In accepting the declarations from representatives of individual roads, Cr Hughes said it was fantastic to see the community becoming so active in the fight against CSG. "You don't want it here and I don't want it here. We want our water to be safe from toxins and chemicals".

Cr Hughes said she would table the declarations at CVC's December meeting. Ewingar, in the Upper Clarence, declared itself CSG-free earlier this year. Cr Richie Williamson accepted the declaration at a ceremony in Lismore. "Across the Northern Rivers, communities are running with this grass-roots process", said Annie Kia from Lock the Gate Alliance Northern Rivers, who was instrumental in developing the initiative early this year.

"So far, a total of 11,590 people have responded to the survey in more than 60 communities. "Of these, 96% said yes to wanting their road and community gas-field free. Astonishingly, only 1% said no to going Gasfield Free, with 3% not sure. "This is about self-determination. Communities have a right to protect existing industries, their land, water and health".