Unconventional gas mining has been a major issue in the Northern Rivers for the past three years and the Liberal and National Party Government should listen to communities who want them to support a Gasfield Free Northern Rivers, according to the Lock the Gate Alliance.
A clear show of voter sentiment on coal seam gas in the region includes:
- The previously safe National Party seat of Ballina being won by the Greens at the March election with an unprecedented 27% swing against the National Party.
- More than 147 communities across the region declaring themselves Gasfield Free, after a door to door survey of more than 33,000 people. This vast and widespread opposition culminated at Bentley where more than 7,000 people gathered to oppose unconventional gas drilling by Metgasco.
- A significant swing against the Nationals in the Northern Rivers seats of Clarence (22.1%) at the State Election, including a 20% swing against the Nationals in Casino, representing a 38% drop in the number of people voting National there.
- A similar swing of 21.5% against the National Party across the electorate in Lismore which nearly resulted in them losing that seat too. The seat is now extremely marginal. These heavy swings took place in conservative country booths like Goolmangar, Kyogle and Jiggi - all of which communities had conducted door to door surveys and declared their communities 'Gasfield Free'.
The front page of the Daily Telegraph today reports Deputy Premier and Nationals Leader Troy Grant has joined the push for a halt to coal seam gas in the Northern Rivers.
Lock The Gate spokesperson Georgina Woods welcomed the Nationals Leader joining National Party MLC Ben Franklin and Member for Clarence Chris Gulaptis in opposition to coal seam gas in the Northern Rivers.
“The NSW election sent the Nationals a clear message – protect the community or risk losing previously stalwart seats like Ballina and Lismore,” Ms Woods said.
“It’s a great step forward for members of the NSW National Party to acknowledge that widespread opposition to unconventional gas warrants meaningful policy change from the Government.
“The region’s landholders and farmers now need these encouraging words of support turned into action. All the unconventional gas licences in the Northern Rivers must be bought back or cancelled and the region fully protected from unconventional gas mining.
“The weekend National Party Congress is a perfect time to get moving to deliver this worthy goal,” she said.