Communities across Gippsland are preparing to turn out in big numbers for the Victorian Government’s community consultation events on unconventional gas. Residents of areas currently under unconventional gas licenses welcomed the announcement that the state government will be beginning community consultation next week, in Warragul.
Drouin resident and local schoolteacher Kerrin Schelfhout says concerned community members will attend each event in large numbers, ready to clearly demonstrate that they will fight to keep unconventional gas out of their towns.
“We welcome community consultation from the government. Now we can tell them once and for all that we will not accept unconventional gas in this state, under any circumstances,” said Ms Schelfhout.
“The government and the mining companies cannot guarantee the safety of our underground water supplies, our land or our environment. These are not things we are willing to gamble with. We are not going to compromise.” she said
Locals from affected areas will attend the events closest to them and stage a large group photo, showing the number of people who are opposed to this industry.
They will also be handing out information for anybody who wants it, and encouraging other concerned residents to join them.
Seven Gippsland communities have already declared their towns Gasfield free, with over 90% of residents voting in favour in every town. More than 25 other towns are currently completing this process.
They say that while they will register their concerns at the consultation events, they will not let the hired consultation staff sway their opinions.
“We are not planning on starting a debate with the governments’ spin doctors,” said Lock the Gate Victoria Coordinator Ursula Alquier.
“Our communities are well informed about this issue and we will fight until unconventional gas is banned entirely.” she said